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Armies await go-ahead in Ivory Coast

2011-01-20 19:30

Bamako - West African armies are ready to intervene in the Ivory Coast, where Laurent Gbagbo has refused to give up the presidency, and only need the political nod to go ahead, a Nigerian general said on Thursday.

West African nations have threatened to send in troops to dislodge Gbagbo who has refused to step aside after a November 28 presidential election which the election commission says he lost.

"We are ready on the military level. It is up to heads of state to give us instructions," General Olusegun Petinrin said after Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) military chiefs wrapped up talks in Mali.

The meeting that opened in the capital Bamako on Tuesday was devoted largely to planning for using military force, if called on, to make Gbagbo cede power to rival Alassane Ouattara, the recognised election winner.

"We are now waiting to hear from the heads of state: if they tell us to go to the Ivory Coast to restore democracy, we will go," a military source told AFP.

Another officer from Nigeria, whose President Goodluck Jonathan is the current Ecowas chairperson, said the regional force would work with the UN operation in Ivory Coast "if the military intervention is decided".

Peacekeepers

The UN has about 9 500 soldiers in Ivory Coast and agreed on Wednesday to deploy 2 000 more, despite Gbagbo's demands for the force to leave the country.

The Ivory Coast's Constitutional Council declared Gbagbo winner of the vote but most of the international community backs the election commission's decision in support of his rival.

Ecowas, which suspended the regional economic powerhouse in early December, has threatened the military option, should mediation fail to persuade Gbagbo to leave peacefully.

The latest attempt to mediate an end to the crisis ended in failure this week with Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga, an envoy of the African Union, leaving Ivory Coast on Wednesday with no breakthrough.

Odinga was in Angola on Thursday and planned to later travel to South Africa for talks on the crisis, his spokesperson Dennis Onyango said.

Mediation

He dismissed comments from Gbagbo's foreign minister that the Kenyan leader was no longer wanted as mediator in Ivory Coast.

"He did not go there to negotiate with Gbagbo," Onyango told AFP. "He is AU envoy and whatever Gbagbo's people say about his mediation does not matter. His rejection does not matter. He is AU envoy."

"(Odinga's) mandate is that the AU has decided that Gbagbo has lost," Onyango said.

"He gave him the message. He rejected it because he did not move from his position. The PM made it very clear that if the AU position of peaceful resolution failed, force will be used."

Odinga travelled to neighbouring Ghana, which opposes using force in the crisis, after leaving Ivory Coast on Wednesday, then to Mali and Burkina Faso. All three are Ecowas members.

He was due to meet Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos later in the day, with Angola one of the few countries to have shown support for Gbagbo.

A report from a meeting of Ecowas military chiefs in December talks of the need for Gbagbo to be removed "from power as soon as possible so the legitimate government can be put in place and start its work".

It outlines an intervention force headed by Nigeria which would also provide the most troops including a combat squadron and attack helicopters.

Comments
  • briansmith702 - 2011-01-20 20:36

    Just another failed African state. What is new????

  • SpeareShaker - 2011-01-20 20:39

    I guess for Nigeria itself we will need to send Executive Outcomes, heh heh heh, Let the war games begin.

  • Julien - 2011-01-21 08:16

    THE UN DEFRAUDS ELECTION : AFGHAN AND IVORY COAST ELECTION LESSONS Galbraith, the U.S. Special Representative to Afghanistan, was announced as the next United Nations' Deputy Special Representative for Afghanistan on March 25, 2009 but abruptly left the country in mid September 2009 at the request of UN Special Representative to Afghanistan Kai Eide following a dispute over the handling of the reported fraud in the 2009 Afghan presidential election - and on September 30, the UN announced that he had been removed from his position by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. The United Nations fired Mr. Galbraith, its No. 2 official in Afghanistan, in September 2009 after he wrote a scathing letter accusing the head of the mission of concealing election fraud that benefited the campaign of the incumbent president, Hamid Karzai. In response to his firing, Galbraith told The Times, "I was not prepared to be complicit in a cover-up or in an effort to downplay the fraud that took place. I felt we had to face squarely the fraud that took place Afghanistan's Independent Election Commission, or IEC, a body appointed by Karzai and subservient to his wishes, was deeply implicated in the 2009 fraud. The commission and its staff either produced the phony tallies — which gave Karzai more than 1 million of his 3 million votes — or collaborated with those who did. In many instances, the commission reported pro-Karzai results from polling centers that never existed. Mr. Galbraith's warnings about fraud were largely confirmed in October, when a United Nations-backed audit stripped the Afghan leader of almost one-third of his votes. . The United Nations announced that Galbraith had initiated legal action against the United Nations over his dismissal. Google search and Get the point of Peter Galbraith in Washington post of Sunday, October 4, 2009 Google search about the official statement of African Union headed by former Togolese Prime Minister Koffigoh. In Ivory coast, The Chairman of the electoral commission only in complicity with the UN representative in Ivory Coast Mr CHOI, a south Korean citizen gave false results in Ouattara HQ. This chairman has been driven by the US ambassador to Ouatara HQ to announce the winner. If really Ouattara distance of 500,000 votes out of 5 millions voters ,why they (UN, Ouattara, Obama, Sarkosy) refuse to recount in live before all TV channel in the world? .I repeat, UN, Ouattara, Gbagbo have the same 20,000 election minutes. In the north of Ivory Coast under rebel control more than 2,200 polling centers have more voters than registered, a turnout of 400%, unheard of. Many votes were counted than were cast. Moreover in over 500 polling stations Gbagbo is left with no votes when he is supposed to have at least two representatives in office votes who are entitled to vote . Do not trust the UN. Go to the website thefrontiertelegraphdotcom

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