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Gbagbo Aide Rejects Genocide Concerns in Ivory Coast

  • Peter Clottey

Presidents of Benin Boni Yayi (C) is escorted by Ivory Coast strongman Laurent Gbagbo's Prime Minister Gilbert Marie N'gbo Ake (R) as he arrives at Felix Houphouet Boigny airport in Abidjan before holding separate talks with Gbagbo and his rival Alassane

A special adviser to embattled Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo has dismissed as ridiculous a pronouncement that the country is on the brink of genocide, despite violence and simmering tension over last month’s disputed election.

Ambassador Yao Gnamien told VOA President Gbagbo will not use violence as a means of resolving the crisis, despite accusations his supporters have been attacking partisans of his rival, former Prime Minister Alassane Ouattara.

“President Gbagbo will never use violence to solve the problems or our political crisis in Cote d’Ivoire. What the young men were saying means that they feel a little bit tired of this situation, and each camp has to put the other camp under pressure, so that the leaders will accept and will agree to meet and to talk,” said Gnamien.

“We feel that there is no other solution than sitting down and to talk to each other. This is why we believe that the solution will be negotiations.”

This came after Mr. Ouattara’s newly-appointed U.N. ambassador, Youssoufou Bamba, warned that Ivory Coast is on the brink of genocide and said something should be done to resolve the crisis.

But, Ambassador Gnamien said there is no way genocide will engulf Ivory Coast.

“I think that he (Mr. Bamba) doesn’t know what he is talking about. This kind of statement cannot help our country to solve our political crisis. We cannot have genocide after an election,” said Ambassador Gnamien.

Meanwhile, The United Nations is warning Mr. Gbagbo not to allow his supporters to attack a hotel where his political rival has set up headquarters.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he is deeply alarmed by reports that a minister in Mr. Gbagbo's government has called for an assault on the hotel where internationally-recognized election winner Alassane Ouattara is working under U.N. protection.

Mr. Ban said U.N. peacekeepers are authorized to use all necessary means to protect Mr. Ouattara's supporters and said any attack on the hotel could reignite civil war.

Mr. Gbagbo's Youth Minister, Charles Ble Goude, told an Ivorian newspaper Thursday that Mr. Ouattara has until 1st January to leave the hotel. Ble Goude, who also leads the militant group “Young Patriots,” has called for a “bare-handed” attack on the hotel.