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Gbagbo Rejects ECOWAS Threat as ‘Western Plot’

AFP – Ivory Coast strongman Laurent Gbagbo’s regime rejected Saturday an “unacceptable” threat by West African leaders to oust him through force, branding it a “Western plot directed by France.”

Ahoua Don Mello, spokesman for Gbagbo’s government, also warned military action by members of the Economic Community of West African States could put millions of regional immigrants in Ivory Coast in danger.
             
“The people of Ivory Coast will mobilise. This boosts our patriotism. This strengthens our faith in Ivorian nationalism,” he said, a day after ECOWAS leaders demanded Gbagbo step aside or face military intervention.
 
West African nations on Friday threatened force if Ivory Coast strongman Laurent Gbagbo refuses to quit power and said those responsible for post-election deaths would face international prosecution.
              
Leaders from the 15-member ECOWAS regional bloc also said a high-level delegation would be sent to Ivory Coast as an “ultimate gesture” to Gbagbo in the hope that he could be persuaded to leave peacefully.
 
The statement following an emergency summit of the Economic Community of West African States came as Gbagbo’s internationally recognised rival, Alassane Ouattara, urged the army to desert the incumbent leader.
              
“In the event that Mr Gbagbo fails to heed the immutable demand of ECOWAS, the community will be left with no alternative but to take other measures, including the use of legitimate force, to achieve the goals of the Ivorian people,” a final statement from the summit said.
              
The bloc said it planned a meeting of military chiefs of staff from the organisation “to plan future action.”
              
Leaders also expressed “deep concern over the unacceptably high number of lives lost since 7 December 2010 and warn all those responsible that they will face international trials for human rights violations at the earliest opportunity.”
              
The date referred to a previous emergency summit on the Ivory Coast crisis, when ECOWAS suspended the country from the organisation and called on Gbagbo to step down.
              
Pressure on Gbagbo has mounted since last month’s presidential vote, with the United States searching for more UN troops and France offering him a final chance to step aside.
              
The summit was held after a UN body demanded a halt to “atrocities” in Ivory Coast and the Central Bank of West African States blocked Gbagbo’s access to finances following the World Bank’s earlier move to freeze loans.
              
Much of the world, including the United Nations, has recognised Ouattara as the winner of last month’s elections, but Gbagbo has refused to budge in the face of escalating calls for him to leave.
              
The financial measures may make it difficult for Gbagbo to pay salaries for soldiers and others, and Ouattara addressed the military in a statement on Friday.
              
Ouattara read the statement in the Golf Hotel, the luxury Abidjan resort where his shadow government is holed up, protected by 800 UN peacekeepers who are in turn blockaded by Gbagbo’s security forces.
              
“As commander in chief, I order the Defence and Security Forces to carry out their republican mission of protecting the population against the militias and foreign mercenaries that are spilling Ivorian blood,” he said.
              
Both Ouattara’s camp and UN human rights monitors accuse Gbagbo’s FDS of involvement in large-scale human rights abuses, and there have been reports of them working with masked militia fighters and Liberian mercenaries.
              
“Violence is returning to our towns and our city neighbourhoods. Serious human rights violations are reported from all corners,” Ouattara said.
              
“Under cover of the curfew, people have been been kidnapped and executed by elements of the Republican Guard and the Cecos, backed by foreign mercenaries and militiamen,” he said, in his first public statement this month.
              
While commanders of the entire 17,000-strong FDS have pledged loyalty to Gbagbo, his most feared support comes from two elite squads, the 1,500-strong Guards and the 2,000 members of the Cecos police special forces unit.
              
Ahead of Friday’s summit, the United States had said it was talking with regional countries from ECOWAS about boosting the 9,000-strong UN mission in Ivory Coast.
              
French Foreign Minister Michele Alliot-Marie said Friday that Gbagbo could still step down honourably, but warned that time was growing short.
              
“Mr Gbagbo still has the possibility of leaving this situation with dignity by recognising what the results are and by handing over power,” she told French radio.
              
“He has the right to a completely honourable exit… but the more time passes and the more things get out of control and there’s violence, the more this possibility distances itself.”
             
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2 Responses »

  1. Gbagbo lost an election and should respect the Ivorian choice of president and stand down. All African nations and the world, except Angola, are asking him to respect the will of the Ivorian. It’s not about imperialism war. It’s about democracy. If Ivorians have elected even a dog to lead their country so it’s be.
    If Gbagbo want to fight imperialism war I think it’s should be economic not slogans. African has passed that. We now fight for economic independence. It’s not by imposing himself to the Ivorian that he will improve the wellbeing of his follow citizen. His African neighbours will remove him and he’s not more intelligent than all African presidents to think they are being used by French.

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  2. Outtara is a puppet of the West. So too are the ECOWAS members. They are not willing to meet the aspirations of their own citizenry and now claim that Gbagbo’s Government should meet the aspirations of Western powers.If anything, there should be a re-elections. The election commission had no business going to Ouattara’s hotel to announce the results of the votes when the process stipulates it should turn the results over to the Consitution Committee. The Election Commission even went as far as turning the do-called results over to France, U.s. and UN. before announcing the ressults to the Ivorian people.The fall of France in the Ivory Coast will begin the total end of French imperialism in Africa.We cannot respect the decision of ECOWAs – amongst them are leaders selected/picked by the IMF/World Bank/UN who were previous employees of these organizations. Outtara is a former employee ofone of these orgaanziations.This is the new colonialism – whereby Western nations pick our leaders through the electroral process by ensuring that people who once worked for their international agencies become leaders of African nations.We have deciphered their strategy and will stand by Gbagbo- not because we love him, but because he is one French-speaking African that is finally taking a stance against imperialism and its “running dogs” (as a famous Asian leader frequently remarked).

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