Raila set to meet Gbagbo and Quattara
Laaska News Mon, Jan 17, 2011
Written By:Margaret Kalekye/PMPS,(KBC)
Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga, the African Union mediator for Ivory Coast, is scheduled to hold talks with the contenders for the country’s presidency Mr Laurent Gbagbo and Mr Alassane Alassane Ouattara Monday evening.
Mr Odinga left Abuja for Abidjan Monday afternoon where he is to meet Mr Gbabgbo before heading for another meeting with Mr Ouattara.
The PM said that he would be making efforts to meet or reach the leaders of other African states, particularly Ghana, Liberia, Mali and South Africa and interest them in the situation in Ivory Coast.
Earlier the PM, Sunday evening held extended discussions at State House, Abuja, with President Nigerian President Jonathan Goodluck, the current Ecowas head, on how to speedily resolve the intensifying crisis.
The two leaders expressed confidence that a peaceful resolution of the crisis would be found.
The key to it lay in honouring the expressed electoral will of the Ivorian people, and in African leaders continuing to speak with one voice in supporting the principled positions Ecowas and the African Union had agreed on.
They emphasized that the crisis in Cote d’Ivoire posed a continuing threat to the country, region and the entire continent, and so time was of the essence.
Mr. Odinga, who has a long history in supporting free and elections and has served as an international observer in many of them, indicated “the refusal to respect the will of the Ivorians as expressed in the November elections will deal a deadly blow to the wave of democracy that is sweeping Africa
“The resulting disillusionment with the electoral process would risk the spread of instability and insecurity on the continent,” he warned.
President Jonathan and PM Odinga pointed out there were a record 17 presidential elections being held on African soil this year, and if the continent’s people came to believe that their votes were not what brought to powers the leaders they wanted, elections would become meaningless and pave the way for unrest and instability.
The continent must continue to speak with one voice if a greater crisis is to be averted, they stated, asserting that it was that common African voice that had seen the United Nations and the international community pledge support for the steps ECOWAS and the African Union had formulated.
Ecowas and AU member states must stay resolute in pushing forth with these agreed positions, they said.
The two were aware that some cracks were developing as the crisis dragged on but were pleased that the vast majority of African states were committed to the agreements made.
“The only way forward to a peaceful Cote d’Ivoire lies in respecting the will of Ivorians as expressed in the outcome of the November elections which were certified as free and fair by the United Nations and other independent organizations.
President Jonathan was accompanied by his foreign minister Odein Ajumogobia, while the PM’s party was composed of Bizima Karaha, a former foreign minister of DRC, Caroli Omondi, Salim Lone and High Commissioner to Nigeria Francis Sigei.
The President of Ecowas, Ambassador J V Gbeho, was part of the discussions.
Ivory Coast unrest was occasioned by a run off held on Nov. 28,in which Alassane Ouattara was declared winner by the electoral commission while the Constitutional Council, which has the final say on the results, said the incumbent president Laurent Gbagbo won the vote.
Gbagbo did not heed the international request and stayed on power, leading to a political standoff and the West African country was put at the real risk of a civil war.