AU chairman disappointed at slow pace of Ivorian mediation process

Blantyre, Malawi (PANA) - The current chairman of the African Union (AU), Malawi President Bingu wa Mutharika, has expressed concern at the slow pace of the mediation process to end the political stalemate in Cote d'Ivoire.

In a statement by his spokesman Heatherwick Ntaba, the AU chair re-emphasised his earlier stand that after a careful assessment, opposition challenger Alassane Ouattara won the disputed 28 Nov. presidential runoff in the West African nation.

"The AU chairman is disappointed that up to now there is no breakthrough in the negotiations," President Mutharika said, urging the incumbent president Laurent Gbagbo to step down immediately and pave way for Ouattara.

"The AU chairman hopes Mr. Gbagbo shall see reason and step down for the sake of the Ivorian people," the statement said..

Mutharika was also quoted as backing the current mediation efforts by AU and Economic Community for West African States (ECOWAS)
emissaries, saying the two bodies reserved the right to use all their available powers to intervene.

Mutharika's statement comes amid reports that Gbagbo has scoffed at several offers, including amnesty, made to ease him out of office.
-0- PANA RT/SEG 4Jan2010

From Raphael Tenthani,
PANA Correspondent

04 january 2011 14:13:54

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