ECOWAS, African, UN, USA leaders uphold Ouattara, reject incumbent Gbagbo as Ivory Coast’s duly elected President
By USAfrica, USAfricaonline.com wt additional wire reports/toi/agency
The 15-nation West African regional bloc ECOWAS, several African and world leaders continue to recognize opposition leader Alassane Ouattara as Ivory Coast’s president -elect, following controversial and disputed elections and violence. The leaders including the U.S , are calling on the incumbent Laurent Gbagbo to accept defeat and step down. See related reports on the elections and results here on USAfricaonline.com
After an emergency summit attended by regional heads of state in Nigeria, ECOWAS further increased pressure on Gbagbo by suspending Ivory Coast’s involvement in the group, which leads transport, finance and other projects.
Disagreement over the outcome of last month’s poll in the world’s top cocoa grower has raised the risk of renewed violence in a nation still divided in two by a 2002-3 war, prompting the United Nations to begin pulling out some staff.
Gbagbo was sworn in as president last week and appointed the new government, defying calls from the United Nations, the United States, France and others for him to accept provisional results of the Nov. 28 poll that made Ouattara the clear winner.
“The heads of state and government recognised Mr Alassane Dramane Ouattara as president-elect of Ivory Coast,” ECOWAS leaders said in a communique issued after an emergency meeting in the Nigerian capital Abuja.
“The summit called on Mr Laurent Gbagbo to abide by the results of the second round of the presidential elections as certified by UNOCI (the UN mission in Ivory Coast) and to yield power without delay,” it said.
Gbagbo, who has kept control of the army and state television, has dismissed calls on him to quit as meddling and on Tuesday held a first cabinet meeting with his new government.
However, the line-up was missing Charles Koffi Diby, the former finance minister who handled past talks on $3 billion debt relief with the IMF and World Bank and was one of the few members of the team with an international reputation.
Speculation grew this week that he had defected after former IMF official Ouattara named him in a rival government line-up. But Diby has not confirmed his appointment and failed to turn up to the first meeting of his parallel cabinet on Monday.