'Ghana will not contribute troops for possible military push against Gbagbo'

Accra, Ghana (PANA) - Ghana on Friday said it would not contribute troops for a possible military push against incumbent Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo, even though it supported the stand by the regional bloc ECOWAS to force Gbagbo out if he fails to step down peacefully.

Ghana’s President John Evans Atta Mills told a press conference to mark the second anniversary of his assumption of power that the decision not to send troops was because Ghana, which has 500 soldiers serving with the UN peacekeeping mission in Cote d’Ivoire (UNOCI), is overstretched.

He added, however, that he does not think personally that a military option would bring peace to Cote d’Ivoire.

“We believe in quiet diplomacy, so I have expressed reservations about the success of the intended military option. There are more than one million Ghanaians in Cote d’Ivoire. I don’t want  to be saddled with problems we can’t solve,” President Mills said.

ECOWAS leaders who met at an extra-ordinary session in Abuja, Nigeria, 24 Dec. 2010 asked Gbagbo to quit so that Ouattara, widely believed to have won the 28 Nov. presidential runoff in Cote d'Ivoire, could assume office, and that failure to quit will result in the use of ''legitimate force'' to oust him.

On efforts to resolve the electoral stalemate in Cote d'Ivoire, which has seen the emergence of two presidents, President Mills stressed Ghana's neutrality, saying it has been in touch with the two men who have claimed the presidency.

Mills also said Ghanaian troops were among the forces protecting Ouattara, who has been holed up a a hotel in Abidjan.
-0- PANA MA/SEG 7Jan2010

07 january 2011 15:42:17

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