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Dec
29

ECOWAS MISSION LEAVES I.COAST EMPTY-HANDED

The Ecowas envoys leave Côte d’Ivoire

LEMONDE.FR with AFP, Reuters | 29.12.10 | 6:39 • Updated 29.12.10 | 24:16

The presidents of Benin, Boni Yayi , Sierra Leone Ernest Koroma and Cape Verde Pedro Pires , mandated by the Economic Community of African States West (ECOWAS) to convince Laurent Gbagbo to cede power, left the country Wednesday, December 29 .
The three men must now travel to Nigeria, where they will report on their discussions at Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan . Then they will return “next week” in Cote d’Ivoire “to continue contacts and try to conclude the mediation” , announced Wednesday the President of the Republic of Cape Verde in a statement.

This indicates that both the Ivorian parties “have asked for some time to reflect in order to find a viable solution for the conclusion of the electoral process, one output capable of promoting lasting peace and stability in this country” .

Nothing has leaked on the talks they had with Mr. Gbagbo. Benin’s President Boni Yayi said simply that “everything went well.” Between two meetings with Mr. Gbagbo, the three emissaries have also exchanged with Alasanne Ouattara in the hotel that serves as headquarters Abidjan, blockaded forces loyal to his rival and guarded by tanks of the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI). The content of these interviews has not been disclosed.

President Koroma of Sierra Leone and Alasanne Ouattara, Tuesday, Dec. 28. Reuters / STR
Ecowas had called this mission “last act” to obtain the withdrawal of Mr. Gbagbo, whose victory in the presidential election is not recognized by the Ivorian electoral commission, nor by the international community. The organization has threatened West African outgoing president to use the “legitimate force” if it does not yield to the injunction.

In an interview with the World [Le Monde] Monday, Laurent Gbagbo did not hesitate to speak of civil war risk in case of foreign intervention. “There may be an internal disorder, civil war in Côte d’Ivoire, because we are not going to trample on our right and our institutions ” , he warned

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Ouattara for the camp, the case is heard. The spokesman of his government, Patrick Achi , said that “the status of president” Ouattara was “not negotiable” . The only question in his eyes, is “now negotiate terms of departure of former President Laurent Gbagbo” . Evidence that tension remains high, a convoy of UNOCI was attacked in Abidjan by a “crowd” on Tuesday, wounding a peacekeeper.

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