Pressure increases on Ivory Coast President

Diplomatic and economic pressures increase to force Gbagbo to surrender power

Abidjan (Agenzia Fides)- Nigeria intends to ask the UN Security Council for a resolution to authorise the use of force to remove Laurent Gbagbo from power, the outgoing President of Côte d’Ivoire. The Nigerian Foreign Minister, Odein Ajumogobia, expressed this in an open letter published in various publications. “The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has unequivocally asked for international support, through a specific resolution by the UN Security Council, to approve the use of force as a last resort,” writes Minister Ajumogbia.

The Army Chiefs of the Countries in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) met on 18 January in Bamako, capital of Mali (see Fides 19/1/2011), to discuss a possible military intervention in Côte d’Ivoire to depose Gbagbo and place Alassane Ouattara in power, the recognized President by the international community following the second round of voting in the presidential elections on 28 November 2010.
In Côte d’Ivoire, the UN maintains a military force which Gbagbo accuses of interfering in the internal politics of the Country. For this reason, the army and Ivorian security forces, which have remained faithful to Gbagbo, have begun to stop and search UN vehicles. The State television network, controlled by the outgoing President, has circulated the the numberplates of 40 vehicles suspected of being used by UN personnel to travel around without being noted and stopped by the police.
In the meantime, the counter strategy to block the sources of funds to the Gbagbo regime is gaining strength. The Ivorian Governor of the Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO), Philippe-Henry Dacoury-Tabley, considered close to Gbagbo, has been forced to resign due to pressure from members of the Economic and Monetary Union of Eastern Africa (UEMOA), upon which the Bank depends. The UEMOA has asked Ouattara to nominate a new Governor.
Ouattara has finally ordered a ban for one month on the exportation of cacao and coffee, the Country’s main exports. If the ban is respected, Gbagbo, who still controls the taxes on the exportation of these two products, will find it extremely difficult to pay the State employees’ wages and those of the security forces. (LM) (Agenzia Fides 24/1/2011)