Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (PANA) - Nigeria’s bid to secure an international approval for the use of “legitimate force” to oust President Laurent Gbagbo of Cote d’Ivoire from power dominated debate on the sidelines of an African Union (AU) meeting underway here for the second day running.
Nigeria, a member of the AU’s Peace and Security Council (PSC) and current chair of ECOWAS, has not formally presented its proposal for the mandate to use force in Cote d’Ivoire, but Ambassadors attending the Committee of Permanent Representatives (PRC) meeting said the issue was urgent and needed a solution.
“The issue is very urgent. The sooner the matter is resolved, the better. The whole country has been paralysed,” Uganda’s Ambassador to the AU, Mull Sebujja Katende, told PANA.
A senior Nigerian diplomat did not confirm nor deny reports that the West African bloc, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), had presented a formal request to the UN Security for the use of force in Cote d’Ivoire.
An ECOWAS delegation is due in New York Thursday to push for a UN Security Council resolution authorizing the regional bloc to use force to oust Gbagbo.
A Sudanese ambassador-at-large said he was aware of Nigeria's latest moves, but said the PRC had not formally debated the issue.
But the Ugandan ambassador said whether or not a formal request for the use of force had been presented, the matter was urgent and needs an urgent response from the international community, including the AU.
“Regardless of whether Nigeria has made the proposal, we want the matter resolved, all options are open, whether by peaceful means or by use of force, we are open to al options,” Ambassador Katende said.
The 15 members of the PSC are expected to convene a meeting here Thursday to discuss the options available on Cote d'Ivoire, where incumbent president Laurent Gbagbo has refused to cede power despite losing the 28 Nov. presidential runoff to Alassane Ouattara.
The PSC meeting will be chaired by Mauritanian President Mohammed Ould Abdulaziz.
-0- PANA AO/SEG 25Jan2011