Ivorian crisis: AU hopes diplomatic solution will be reached

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (PANA) - The African Union (AU) remains hopeful that there is still time for a diplomatic solution to end months of political stalemate in Cote d'Ivoire, according to Ramtane Lamamra, Commissioner for Peace and Security.

The supreme organ of the AU, the Peace and Security Council (PSC) Thursday discussed situations in the Sudan and Cote d'Ivoire.

Incumbent President of Cote d'Ivoire, Laurent Gbagbo, has rejected series of requests by AU, UN, the US, EU and the regional bloc ECOWAS to step down and allow Alassane Ouattara, declared winner of the 28 November presidential run off by the independent electoral body, to assume leadership of the country.

Individual leaders of a number of African countries have also tried to mediate but Kenya's Prime Minister, Raila Odinga, the AU mediator, was altogether rejected by Gbagbo.

“It is clear that we have not yet exhausted diplomatic efforts to bring solutions to the crisis in Cote d'Ivoire,” Lamamra told journalists.

According to him, it is “fortunate” that more than a month since the eruption of the crisis, the rivals in Cote d'Ivoire have not entered into large scale military confrontations.

Lamamra, therefore, suggested that AU was still far from turning to a military intervention to resolve the political stalemate in the West African state.

That the parties have not entered large scale military confrontation so far indicates that the situation is still convenient to negotiate the two sides to bring them into an agreement, he stated.

The commissioner, nevertheless, said AU had made its positions clearly felt by the two sides that its solution – Gbagbo’s removal from power – is unavoidable.

Meanwhile, the AU summit next week would discuss the Ivorian crisis without any representation of the country.

In an earlier meeting on Cote d'Ivoire, the PSC decided that the West African state be banned from AU membership until Ouattara assumes power.        
-0- PANA OR/BOS 20Jan2011

20 january 2011 17:58:02

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