MPCI accuses ECOWAS, France of propping Gbagbo

Lome- Togo (PANA) -- Guillaume Soro, Secretary General of Cote d'Ivoire's rebel Patriotic Movement (MPCI) announced Thursday that his organisation was leaving the peace talks in Lome, Togo, for "consultations," and accused ECOWAS and France of trying to save President Laurent Gbagbo's government.
He said the MPCI would also not be involved in the ECOWAS planned talks in Abidjan between the government and Ivorian political parties.
Soro has been leading the MPCI at ECOWAS-brokered talks in the Togolese capital on the Ivorian crisis, mediated by Togolese President Gnassingbe Eyadema.
But he accused ECOWAS of moving the venue of the negotiations to Abidjan and proposed a new document only to the government and Ivorian political parties.
The MPCI leader denounced the Abidjan meeting, saying he was surprised that the document was not addressed to his organisation.
"This document is useless, because the mediator exceeded the mandate given by the Accra Summit, which entrusted him to reconcile the Ivorian government and MPCI and address the MPCI's claims," Soro argued.
He alleged that the "document requires the government and parties to come together to fight the MPCI," accusing ECOWAS and France of trying to save Gbagbo's regime in the name of constitutional legality.
Soro also denounced comments credited to the French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin, that the mission of French troops was to support the Ivorian government.
He, however, welcomed French President Jacques Chirac's statement that the Ivorian crisis be discussed frankly with Ivorians taking full responsibility.
The MPCI leader called on France to remain neutral in the management of the Ivorian crisis, saying the international community was also taking the crisis lightly.
Reiterating the MPCI's sincerity in the negotiations, Soro warned there would be no military solution to conflict, which erupted 19 September, killing hundreds and displacing thousands in Cote d'Ivoire.
MPCI forces control much of northern Cote d'Ivoire, while two new rebel movements control parts of the West.

12 december 2002 15:37:00

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