Mbeki urges Ivory Coast leaders to seek peace

2010-12-07 10:57

Abidjan – International envoy Thabo Mbeki yesterday urged Ivory Coast’s rival leaders to find a peaceful solution to their political crisis as he ended a mediation trip to the country.

“The AU (African Union) is very, very keen indeed that the peace in Cote d’Ivoire should be maintained,” the former South African president told reporters after a second meeting with Laurent Gbagbo, the incumbent president.

“We indeed hope that the leadership of this country will do everything it can to make sure that peace is sustained,” he adding, saying he would report back to the body that sent him, the 53-nation African Union.

Mbeki was dispatched on an urgent mission to try to prevent political deadlock turning violent after both Gbagbo and his rival Alassane Ouattara swore themselves in as president following a disputed election.

He met with both leaders on Sunday and with Gbagbo again yesterday, as well holding talks with the UN representative in the country and other Ivorian officials on both sides of the political standoff.

He gave no further details of the talks, which sought to calm a crisis that the African Union has warned could erupt into “a crisis of incalculable consequences”.

The presidential vote was supposed to end a decade of instability in the country and ensure peace after a 2002-2003 civil war, but has been marred by deadly violence.

Results from the electoral commission, endorsed by the United Nations and much of the international community, gave victory to Ouattara, but Gbagbo’s allies annulled them on the grounds of alleged irregularities.

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