A special adviser to embattled Ivoirian President Laurent Gbagbo has denied a scheduled meeting today (Monday) by a group of sub-regional and continental leaders will aim to persuade Mr. Gbagbo to peacefully step down and go into exile.
Ambassador Yao Gnamien said the arrival of the leaders will be the starting point of resolving the country’s crisis following disputes after the 28th November presidential run-off vote.
“They are not coming to negotiate the departure of President Gbagbo. They are coming to Cote D’Ivoire just for a process of negotiations so that we can find a peaceful solution to the crisis. So, they are not coming to ask President Gbagbo to cede the power. No. it is not true,” he said.
Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, who is also the chairman of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), will be joined by Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga the presidents of Benin, Sierra Leone, and Cape Verde to hold another round of negotiations with Mr. Gbagbo to find ways of ending the crisis.
President Jonathan reportedly said, the rub-regional bloc, ECOWAS will determine its next line of action Tuesday after hearing back from this second round of talks with Mr. Gbagbo.
ECOWAS warned that it will use “legitimate force” if President Gbagbo refuses to step down. The sub-regional bloc is joined by the African Union, the United Nations as well as the rest of the international community that recognizes former Prime Minister Alassane Ouattara as winner of the presidential run-off.
Ambassador Gnamien said President Gbagbo is opposed to any kind of violence or force to resolve the ongoing crisis.
“If you consider that the international community is a judge, the first thing a judge has to do is to listen to the parties involved in the conflict. I think the international community has already listened to Mr. Ouattara, and the second step is to invite the international community to listen to President Gbagbo. This is why the former president of the Constitutional Court in France Mr. Roland Dumas and an international lawyer Jacques Verges are nor in Cote D’Ivoire to investigate so that they can tell the truth to the public opinion in France,” said Ambassador Gnamien.
“So if the United States wants to know the truth, they have to send the experts they have, they have to send the judges they have so that they can come and investigate. And after the investigation they can make a sound decision.”
Meanwhile, sub-regional bloc ECOWAS, has warned that it will be forced to use “legitimate force” if embattled President Gbagbo refuses to step down. But, despite increasing international pressure, supporters of the Ivoirian leader say Mr. Gbagbo will not step down.