Gbagbo says AU Panel must respect Ivorian constitution

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (PANA) - Incumbent President of Cote d'Ivoire, Laurent Gbagbo, has welcomed the creation of the African Union (AU) High-Level Panel to end the presidential power-struggle in the country, warning that the panel would be “useless” unless it complied with the Ivorian constitution.

Gbagbo's Foreign Minister Alcide Djedje said here Tuesday that the Ivorian leader was specifically pleased with the decision to drop the threat of military force to oust him from power, saying the high-level panel would ‘work on a fair basis’ to resolve the crisis.

“The conclusion of the AU, which advises that we should avoid violence, is welcomed. He (Gbagbo) is happy with the formation of the panel and hopes they would work on a fair basis,” Djedje told a news conference at the Ivorian embassy in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

According to him, the Ivorian leader was not prepared to accept “anything against Cote d’Ivoires’ constitution, which says that President Gbagbo is the winner of the presidential contest.

“We think the panel will come to Cote d’Ivoire to respect Ivorian laws," Djedje said, stressing that if the panel still believed that Alassane Ouattara was the President of Cote d’Ivoire, then it would be useless for the panel to travel there in the first place.

Djedje insisted that the Constitutional Council, which confirmed Gbagbo as the winner of the presidential run-off elections of 28 November, had the full powers to declare the final results.

“It is useless to come if they do not intend to respect the laws of Cote d’Ivoire,” the minister insisted.

The AU has suspended Cote d’Ivoire from its membership until such a time when President-elect Ouattara is installed as the country’s leader.

The AU Summit, which ended here Monday approved the formation of the high-level panel, to include the President of Mauritania, Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, the Chadian President Idris Derby, the Tanzanian President, Jakaya Kikwete, South African President Jacob Zuma and panel chair Burkina Faso’s Blaise Compaore.

The panel would also include AU Commission Chairperson and the President of the ECOWAS Commission.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, has unveiled a “five-point principle” on how to resolve the crisis in Cote d’Ivoire, to include respect for human rights, including stopping the killings and political assassinations allegedly happening in the country.

The UN chief said the “genuine winner” of the elections must be allowed to rule.

Meanwhile, the Gbagbo camp has accused the UN Secretary-General of bias, saying the formation of the High-Level Panel was meant to “correct the wrongs” caused by the UN Envoy in Cote d’Ivoire, who certified results showing Ouattara as the winner.

The Gbagbo camp wants the AU team of leaders to re-examine the entire electoral process and determine the true results.

However, Ping has termed any attempt to re-examine the results “a terrible proposition”.
-0- PANA AO/BOS 1Feb2011  

01 فبراير 2011 13:57:33

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