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Ivory Coast Leader Scheduled to Meet Senegal President Wade Thursday

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

A special adviser to Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo says Senegal President Abdoulaye Wade will meet the Ivorian leader Thursday to help resolve the ongoing political crisis.

Lambert Bahi Serry said Mr. Wade is keeping his promise of paying a working visit to Ivory Coast to assess the current political situation.

“He (President Wade) is coming to discuss with the president about the current situation, make his own assessment. And he will try to assist the facilitator President Blaise Compaore to try to resolve the crisis in Cote d’Ivoire,” he said.

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

But Ivory Coast’s media speculated that Mr. Wade’s presence will undermine Mr. Compaore’s ongoing mediation efforts to resolve the political crisis.

Serry said the Ivorian leader welcomes the regional bloc’s effort to resolve the political stalemate.

“We do appreciate this visit because the president has always appreciated the participation of the sub-region in the resolution of the crisis. Because they have a better understanding of what is at stake; whether it is on the economic level, social level, political level, they understand better the impact of the crisis as the one happening in Cote d’Ivoire,” Serry said.

United Nations officials are currently in Ivory Coast to also assess the situation after its recent report stated that political leaders in the north and south are benefiting politically and economically from the political crisis.

A group of United Nations experts on Ivory Coast said in a report to the Security Council 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," the report said.

Advisor Serry said the Ivorian leader is working closely with the United Nations to find solutions to the crisis.

“What is important for people to understand is that Cote d’Ivoire is not a failed country and I think that the UN Security Council, especially the Secretary General has understood that. So, the team that he sent is talking to the head of state, talking to the prime minister, talking to the opposition leaders and to everybody to try to make a complete assessment as to how we can manage to move forward, organize the elections and then have the leaders that the people want,” Serry said.