Ivorian factions in standoff in Addis Ababa

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (PANA) - A stand-off in Addis Ababa on Thursday between officials of Ivorian incumbent president Laurent Gbagbo and opposition leader Alassane Ouattara, who is regarded as the winner of last November's presidential election, has stalled a meeting of the supreme organ of the African Union.  

The meeting of the African Union’s Peace and Security Council on the crisis in Cote d'Ivoire being attended by five presidents remains stuck as representatives of Gbagbo reject fresh proposals by a Panel of AU  presidents mandated by the AU to resolve the matter.

The PCS meeting, which opened on 10 March at the AU headquarters in the Ethiopian capital behind closed doors, comes a day after the AU High Level Panel met to present its propositions. The Panel is made up of the presidents of Mauritania, South Africa, Tanzania, Chad and Burkina Faso.

The proposals are said to favour Ouattara although details are yet to be released.

The AU Panel has proposed that Gbagbo's loyalists should be accommodated in Ouattara’s government, sources said, adding that another recommendation is that the AU should seek a safe exit for the incumbent president.
  
Gbagbo’s camp was quick to reject a proposal that named Ouattara as president of the cocoa-rich West African state whose politics is still dominated by its former colonial master, France.

Gbagbo has frequently accused France and the UN, who has been protecting Ouattara at the Golfe Hotel in Abidjan, of meddling in his country’s politics.

Accordingly, he banned UN and French peacekeeping aircraft from flying over or landing in Cote d'Ivoire.

The announcement came as Ouattara arrived in Ethiopia for the meeting, marking his first trip out of Golfe Hotel since the disputed election in which the twomen claimed victory. Gbagbo is not attending the meeting.

The meeting is expected to ask Gbabgo to handover power to Ouattara.

“We will never accept it if the proposal is for President Gbagbo to step down because he is the elected leader of Cote d'Ivoire," Alcide Djedje, Gbagbo’s Foreign Minister said in Addis Ababa.

"We just want President Gbagbo to be president because he has been elected according to the laws in the country. This is our stance," he said.
-0- PANA OR/MA 10March2011
              

10 march 2011 20:15:59




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