Ghana's opposition to use of force in Cote d'Ivoire ''total''

Lagos, Nigeria (PANA) - Ghana's opposition to the possible use of force to remove incumbent Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo if he fails to step down, as threatened by ECOWAS leaders, is more far reaching than publicly stated, PANA learnt on Monday.

Ghana's President John Atta Mills said Friday that his country would not contribute troops for a possible military push against Gbagbo, saying he does not think a military option would bring peace to Cote d'Ivoire.

“We believe in quiet diplomacy, so I have expressed reservations about the success of the intended military option. There are more than one million Ghanaians in Cote d’Ivoire. I don’t want  to be saddled with problems we can’t solve,” President
Mills said.

However, a source close to the ECOWAS Committee of Chiefs of Defence Staff told PANA here Monday that in addition to not contributing troops, Ghana has also said it will not allow its territory to be used for any possible use of force against Gbagbo.

''That means, for example, that Nigeria fighter jets cannot overfly Ghana's airspace if they need to be dispatched to Cote
d'Ivoire,'' the source said, on the condition of anonymity. ''It (Ghana's opposition) is more serious than publicly stated.''

The source said Ghana's Chief of Defence Staff made his country's stand known during the two-day meeting of the West African
military chiefs in Nigeria's capital, Abuja, 28-29 Dec.

Ghana's stand on the use-of-force issue is said to be deeply unsettling to the regional leaders, especially as the country is one of the
three (others are Nigeria and Senegal) that are expected to lead a possible military push against the incumbent.

Ghana's decision is also considered as another indication of a crack in the resolve of the regional bloc to force Gbagbo to step down and allow Alassane Ouattara, widely believed to have won the 28 Nov. presidential election, to assume office.

Gambia has also spoken out against the use of force to resolve the Ivorian crisis.
-0- PANA SEG 10Jan2011

10 january 2011 09:01:15

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