'ECOWAS will force Gbagbo out if he fails to resign'

Abuja, Nigeria (PANA) - The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) insisted Tuesday it will use force to remove incumbent Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo if he fails to quit peacefully.

ECOWAS rotation chairman and Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan gave the assurance after he was briefed by the regional bloc's delegation that met with Gbagbo and the acclaimed winner of the 28 Nov. presidential rerun, Alassane Ouattara,
in Abidjan Monday.

''We sent Special envoys to Ivory Coast to discuss with the two Presidents; the former President Gbagbo and the elected President  Alassane Quattara. There is still stalemate..But, the ECOWAS position as issued in the Communique after our meeting still stands,’’ Jonathan said, referring to the 24 Dec. 2010 decision of ECOWAS leaders to use force to kick Gbagbo out if he fails to step down.

President Jonathan was briefed by Presidents Ernest Koroma of Sierra Leone, Pedro Pires of Cape Verde, Kenyan Prime Minister and African Union's special envoy Raila Odinga and the President of ECOWAS Commission, Victor Gbeho.

Another member of the delegation, President Yayi Boni of Benin, was not at the briefing.

PANA learnt that despite the willingness of African leaders to give Gbagbo an amnesty and the offer of a plum AU job, among other carrots being dangled at him, the incumbent leader still refused to quit, setting up the spectre of a possible use of force to kick him out.

West African military leaders have worked out a plan for a possible troops deployment and use of force in its troubled member state, if
-0- PANA ADE/SEG 4Jan2011

04 january 2011 13:45:21

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