AU sets up panel to resolve Ivorian crisis (Corrected)

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (PANA) - Reaffirming its previous decisions on the post-election crisis in Cote d'Ivoire, the Peace and Security Council (PSC) of the African Union (AU) has set up a high-level panel to resolve the crisis in a way that would preserve democracy and peace in the West African country.

At the end of its meeting at the level of heads of state, the Council late Friday announced the panel would be mandated to evaluate the situation in Cote d'Ivoire and formulate, on the basis of relevant decisions of the AU and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), an overall political solution.

The panel should conclude its work within a period of one month and its conclusions, which will be endorsed by the PSC, will be binding on all the Ivorian parties with whom its conclusions would have been negotiated.

In the meantime, the Council has demanded the immediate removal of the siege on Hotel du Golf in Abidjan, the Ivorian economic capital, where Alassane Ouattara, who has been recognised by the international community as the winner of Côte d'Ivoire's presidential election, has been confined.

In addition, the PSC has demanded an end to all acts of violence and abuses against the civilian population as well as calls that have the effect of inciting hatred and violence.

In a communique from the session, the PSC underscored the importance of pursuing the efforts to accomplish the country's peace process, in particular the holding of legislative elections, national reconciliation, reunification of the country, disarmament of ex-combatants and the dismantlement of militias, reform of the security sector and the restoration of the state authority throughout Cote d'Ivoire.

The Council reaffirmed the need for a rapid peaceful resolution that allows the preservation of democracy and peace through the respect for the will of the Ivorian people and "which will foster lasting reconciliation among all Ivorian parties through dialogue.'

According to the communique, the PSC has expressed satisfaction with the initiatives taken by ECOWAS and the AU Commission, with a view to finding a peaceful resolution to the crisis respecting the democratic choice of the Ivorians.

"In particular," said the communique, "Council pays tribute to the chair of ECOWAS, Presidents Thomas Yayi Boni of Benin, Pedro Pires of Cape Verde and Ernest Bai Koroma of Sierra Leone, as well as to Prime Minister Raila Odinga of Kenya and former presidents Thabo Mbeki of South Africa and Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria, for their contributions to the search for a peaceful resolution to the crisis in Cote d'Ivoire."

The Council also expressed appreciation for the efforts deployed by the different partners of the AU and the international community as a whole, stressing the importance of mobilising coordinated support to the efforts of Africa, "which has the primary responsibility for the management and resolution of this crisis."

Concerned with the prevailing situation in Cote d'Ivoire since the announcement of the results of the second round of the presidential election of 28 November, 2010, the Council also strongly condemned the abuses and other violations of human rights, threats and acts of intimidation, as well as acts of obstruction against the activities of the United Nations Operations in Cote d'Ivoire (ONUCI).

It regretted the loss of lives and acts of destruction of property, which have taken place in some parts of the country.
-0- PANA AR/BOS 29Jan2011

29 january 2011 09:26:40

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