Nigeria-led ECOWAS to prod UN to do more on Ivorian crisis

Abuja, Nigeria (PANA) - West African leaders meeting in Nigeria's capital city of Abuja will urge the UN to play a more active role in the regional-led efforts to resolve the worsening post-election crisis in Cote d'Ivoire, according to Nigeria's President and ECOWAS Chairman Goodluck Jonathan.

President Jonathan spoke here Wednesday as the 39th ordinary summit of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) got underway.

''I hope the meeting can pass a resolution asking the UN to take a little more serious interest in the situation in Cote d'Ivoire,'' Jonathan said.

The statement came a few days after Nigeria's Foreign Affairs Minister Odein Ajumogobia bemoaned the ''complexities and contradictions of the international foreign policy'' that allows the UN to impose a no-fly zone on Libya to protect civilians while doing little or nothing on the situation in Cote d'Ivoire.

Jonathan expressed regret that incumbent Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo has remained recalcitrant, despite the fact that Alassane Ouattara is widely acknowledged as the winner of November's presidential election in the country.

''Unfortunately, Mr. Gbagbo is yet to positively respond to our many efforts at negotiating a peaceful resolution of the crisis. He has equally rejected the appeals and mediation efforts of world leaders, the EU, the UN and the African Union whose Peace and Security Council endorsed and reaffirmed the position of the Authority of ECOWAS on the crisis,'' he said.

The ECOWAS Chairman stressed the need for the leaders of the sub-region to ''remain resolved and united on our principled stand on the crisis'', expressing the hope that it can be resolved without recourse to the force of arms.

The 15-member regional bloc has threatened to use ''legitimate force'' to oust Gbagbo if he fails to step down.

The two-day meeting, being attended by about 12 Heads of State and Government, will elect a successor to President Jonathan, who assumed the post in May 2010 following the death of his predecessor, President Umaru Yar'Adua.
-0- PANA SEG 23March2011

23 march 2011 16:16:18

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