News / Africa

West African Leaders Suspend Ivory Coast Over Political Crisis

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan speaks during a press conference on December 7, 2010, after a special summit of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) heads of States on Ivory Coast's electoral crisis.
Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan speaks during a press conference on December 7, 2010, after a special summit of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) heads of States on Ivory Coast's electoral crisis.

Multimedia

Audio

West African leaders are calling on Laurent Gbagbo to step down as president of Ivory Coast in favor of a former prime minister who won the United-Nations certified vote.

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan chairs the Economic Community of West African States. Following an emergency meeting with the leaders of Burkina Faso, Ghana, Liberia, Mali, Senegal, and Togo, President Jonathan said Mr. Gbagbo should step down because he lost last month's vote.

"The votes of the people must count. Where we have a democracy where the votes do not count, ECOWAS will no longer accept such a pseudo or false democracy," said Jonathan.

President Jonathan says West African leaders agree that former prime minister Alassane Ouattara won the election and is now Ivory Coast's rightful leader. "We reviewed the whole issues, the whole elections, and have come to the conclusion that Ouattara was the person who duly won that election.  Of course you know that we no longer accept illegitimate government within the subregion," he said.

So the regional alliance suspended Ivory Coast from all of its activities.

Mr. Gbagbo says he is the president because Ivory Coast's constitutional council annulled as fraudulent nearly ten percent of all ballots cast, giving him 51 percent of the vote. Mr. Ouattara says he is the president because the United Nations certified the original electoral commission results that show him winning 54 percent of the vote.

Both men have named new prime ministers and have the support of rival armed forces. Mr. Gbagbo is supported by senior military officers who control southern regions. Mr. Ouattara is
supported by former rebels who control northern regions.

President Jonathan called on the United Nations and the African Union to work with West African leaders to keep the peace. "We know we have a challenge on our hands. We have two people claiming to be the president. We have two prime ministers. We have two sets of executive councils. And of course that is a very, very abnormal situation. But we believe that we will get over this ugly phase of the history of the subregion," he said.

The first sign of the conflict's regional impact is the arrival of refugees in neighboring Liberia.

Liberian refugee agency official Morris Nelson says more than 600 people have crossed the border into Nimba County since late last week. "At the moment we are building tents where these refugees can seek refuge for the meantime. But what is more alarming is that these Ivorians do not have any food to eat. So we are calling on humanitarian organizations like the WFP (World Food Program) to hurriedly come in to provide support to these Ivorian refugees," he said.

The rebuke by his former colleagues is unlikely to change Mr. Gbagbo's approach to the political crisis. ECOWAS joins the United Nations, the African Union, the European Union, Britain, France, the United States, and Canada in calling for Mr. Gbabgo to yield power.

Mr. Gbagbo dismisses international support for Mr. Ouattara as foreign interference that threatens Ivory Coast's sovereignty. His new prime minister named a new cabinet Tuesday.

President Jonathan says West African leaders want Mr. Gbagbo to yield power without delay because they do not believe a government of national unity is in Ivory Coast's best interests. Given the experience of power-sharing governments in Kenya and Zimbabwe, the Nigerian leader says that does not really work.

You May Like

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

Judge Declares Washington DC Ban on Public Handguns Unconstitutional

Ruling overturns capital city's prohibition on carrying guns in pubic More

Pricey Hepatitis C Drug Draws Criticism

Activists are using the International AIDS Conference to criticize drug companies for charging high prices for life-saving therapies More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid