Lagos, Nigeria (PANA) - A delegation of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) that travelled to Cote d'Ivoire Tuesday was due to brief Nigeria's President and ECOWAS Chairman Goodluck Jonathan Wednesday in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, on its mission, ECOWAS sources said.
Presidents Pedro Pires of Cape Verde, Ernest Bai Koroma of Sierra Leone and Yayi Boni of Benin conveyed the decision of the 15-member regional bloc to incumbent Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo, during a three-hour meeting in Abidjan, that he should quit or be kicked out through the use of ''legitimate force''.
The Presidents, accompanied by ECOWAS Commission President James Victor Gbeho, also met with the presumed winner of the 28 Nov. presidential runoff, Alassane Ouattara, and the head of the UN Mission in Cote d'Ivoire, Choi Young-jin.
In the meantime, ECOWAS military chiefs, who gathered in Abuja Tuesday to work out the details of a possible military push against Gbagbo,continued their meeting Wednesday.
At the meeting, being held behind closed doors, PANA learnt that the military chiefs were finalising details of possible troops deployment to Cote d'Ivoire and other logistics, in case Gbagbo fails to heed the warning by the West African leaders that he should relinquish power to the internationally-recognised winner of the presidential runoff.
Gbagbo is insisting that he won the runoff, even though the electoral commission declared Ouattara winner - a result backed by the international community, including ECOWAS.
With both Gbagbo and former Prime Minister Ouattara now laying claims to the presidency, tension is high in the cocoa-rich West African nation, triggering fears that it could slide back to the 2002-2003 civil war that split it into two.
-0- PANA SEG 29Dec2010