Nigeria urges un to authorise force in Ivory Coast

2011-01-24 10:45

Nigeria’s foreign minister today called on the UN Security Council to authorise force in Ivory Coast as West African nations seek to further pressure strongman Laurent Gbagbo to quit power.

Odein Ajumogobia, in an editorial published in Nigerian newspapers, said the crisis “single handedly precipitated by Mr Laurent Gbagbo ... will inevitably lead to anarchy and chaos, or worse, a full-blown civil war” if not resolved.

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan is the current chairperson of the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas), which has threatened to use force if Gbagbo does not step down in favour of his internationally recognised rival Alassane Ouattara.

“Ecowas requires unequivocal international support through an appropriate United Nations Security Council resolution to sanction the use of force,” Ajumogobia wrote.

“This is the only way to legitimise the use of external force to effectively contain the increasingly volatile internal situation and ensure an enduring peace in Cote d’Ivoire and the West African sub-region.”

He said the use of force did not have to mean an invasion.

“The use of ‘legitimate force’ is however not exclusively about military warfare in the conventional sense and therefore does not necessarily connote an ‘invasion’ by troops,” Ajumogobia wrote.

“Legitimate force can include, for example, a naval blockade to enforce sanctions which might be imposed against Gbagbo.”

Asked whether he was suggesting the UN change the mandate of its peacekeeping mission in Ivory Coast to allow it to participate in the removal of Gbagbo, Ajumogobia said an Ecowas military deployment should have the United Nations’ stamp of approval.

“My argument simply put is that the use of force by Ecowas in Cote d’Ivoire must be under the aegis of the United Nations, and that without an appropriate UN Security Council resolution to sanction such use of force, Ecowas use of force in Cote d’Ivoire would not be legitimate,” he told AFP.

Gbagbo has defied global calls for him to quit power in favour of Ouattara, the internationally recognised winner of November elections.

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