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Adviser Says President Gbagbo Not Cause of Ivory Coast Crisis

Ivorian president Laurent Gbagbo (L) and Burkina Faso's president Blaise Compaore meet at the airport in Abidjan on 22 Feb, 2010 after Campaore arrived to act as a mediator in Ivory Coast's political crisis (file photo)

Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo’s special adviser says the disarmament of rebel forces and the re-unification of the entire country are the two main conditions needed to be achieved before credible elections could be held.

Lambert Bahi Serry said there is need for the international community including the African Union to help with the full implementation of the Political Agreement that was recently signed in Burkina Faso’s capital, Ouagadougou.

“I think for the Peace and Security Council of the African Union to state that it means that they are in face with what the president has been saying over and over again that we need to have all these bodies like the African Union, the ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States, the U.N. Security Council to put pressure on the signatories of the Ouagadougou agreement so that the last step the 20 percent that we have left to have free and fair elections are completed,” he said.

In a statement Tuesday, the African Union’s Peace and Security Council expressed concerns about the lack of progress in resolving the ongoing political crisis in Ivory Coast.

The continental body underscored the need for the main parties in the crisis “to make every effort for the early completion of the process” that will lead to free and fair elections.

The African Union also urged both parties to find solutions to outstanding issues, in conformity with relevant provisions in the Ouagadougou Political Agreement and Supplementary Agreements.

Opposition groups often accuse President Gbagbo of delaying the general elections after he recently dissolved the electoral commission over disputes in the voter register.

But, special adviser Serry said President Gbagbo is not to blame for the ongoing political stalemate that has stifled the resolution of the Ivorian crisis.

“The president was obligated to dissolve the electoral commission. The president has the power within our constitution through article 48 to dissolve the electoral commission and the government if there is a need for such a decision to be taken. The president, believe me, did not write the constitution,” Serry said.

Meanwhile, a group of U.N. experts said that “political leaders in the north and the south appear unwilling to reunite the country because they benefit, politically and economically, from a divided country," it said in a recent report to the Security Council.

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is backing mediation efforts by Burkinabe President Blaise Compaore to help resolve the Ivorian crisis.