ECOWAS renews effort to resolve Ivorian crisis

Lagos- Nigeria (PANA) -- The executive secretary of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Mohammed Ibn Chambas is due in Abidjan on Saturday in continuation of efforts by the sub-regional bloc to find a political solution to the crisis in Cote d'Ivoire.
ECOWAS spokesperson Adrienne Diop told PANA in Lagos Friday that Chambas would present new proposals towards resolving the crisis triggered 19 September when soldiers resisting demobilisation mutinied in what the government said was a failed coup.
"We hope the proposals would be acceptable to both parties," Diop said, without giving details.
A ceasefire agreement brokered by ECOWAS unravelled after the Ivorian government refused to sign it, insisting that the rebels who now control some parts of the country lay down their arms before talks.
Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo said in a broadcast last Tuesday night that the ECOWAS Contact Group, formed at an extraordinary summit in Accra, Ghana was to discuss with the mutineers and get them to lay down their arms, not to broker a cease-fire.
"Should Cote d'Ivoire condescend and thus give any legitimacy to the aggressor, that would be the end of legitimacy for all African governments," Gbagbo intimated, warning "any gang could then just acquire a few weapons and run down any government in the continent.
" But Gbagbo seems to have toned down his rhetoric, paving the way for ECOWAS to relaunch its peace efforts.
Meanwhile, Chambas Friday briefed Ambassadors of ECOWAS member states in Nigeria on the situation in Cote d'Ivoire.
Explaining the briefing held at the ECOWAS Secretariat in Abuja, Diop said the Ambassadors are part of the ECOWAS Mediation and Security Council.

11 october 2002 15:46:00




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