Ivory Coast: Force still 'best option'

2011-01-26 22:46

Lusaka - The prime minister in Ivory Coast's internationally recognised government said on Wednesday that force was still the best option to resolve his country's political deadlock.

Speaking two days after an African Union summit kicked off in Ethiopia, Guillaume Soro called on the AU to take "strong decisions" against strongman Laurent Gbagbo, who is refusing to step down although Soro's boss, Alassane Ouattara, is widely seen as the winner of the November 28 presidential election.

"The military operation is the best option to remove Laurent Gbagbo from power," Soro told journalists in Lusaka after meeting with Zambian President Rupiah Banda.

"The government is asking the African Union to take strong decisions against Laurent Gbagbo and his clan, who is refusing to hand over power peacefully," added Soro, who has been meeting with African leaders in a bid to boost support for a military intervention.

He met last week with Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, current chair of West African bloc Ecowas, and the presidents of Togo and Niger.

African support for a military intervention in Ivory Coast has appeared to be waning.

Ecowas has yet to follow through on initial threats to oust Gbagbo by force, and a leaked report this week showed AU mediator and former South African president Thabo Mbeki pushed a negotiated settlement as the only workable solution to the crisis.

But Soro on Wednesday rejected the idea of holding talks.

"Dialogue has failed in Ivory Coast and the only option is a military operation," he said.

Read more on:    au  |  guillaume soro  |  rupiah banda  |  ivory coast  |  west africa

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