The international community continues to mediate,
but also prepares for military intervention in the end
Abidjan (Agenzia Fides) – Between attempts at dialogue and signs of a possible military intervention, the international community continues to add pressure to relieve Côte d’Ivoire from the political-institutional crisis provoked by the refusal of outgoing President, Laurent Gbagbo, to recognise the victory of Alassane Ouattara in the presidential election of 28 November.
The Chiefs of the armies of the Countries in the Economic Community of Western African States (ECOWAS) met today, 18 January, in Bamako, capital of Mali, to discuss a possible military intervention in Côte d’Ivoire to depose Gbagbo and install Ouattara to power. Côte d’Ivoire was waiting in suspense for ECOWAS at the start of the crisis.
A preliminary document, drafted in a previous military meeting of ECOWAS held at the end of December, states that the majority of the eventual force of the intervention will come from the Nigerian army. It also assumes a naval blockade by the Country and the use of special forces. Some days ago the supporters of Ouattara requested “a commando operation” to make an assault on the presidential palace and capture Gbagbo. According to military experts, ECOWAS does not have sufficient numbers to conduct a solitary military intervention in the country.
At a diplomatic level, the mediator from the African Union, the Kenyan Premier, Raila Odinga, is in Abidjan, where he has met with both Gbagbo and Ouattara. Odinga confirmed that he has witnessed the “progress” in the meetings conducted yesterday with both protagonists in the crisis. The discusssions are set to continue today.
In the meantime, clashes between Ouattara’s partisans and security forces occurred in Abobo, the “feudal” quarter of President-elect, Abidjan. The peacekeeping force from the UN in Costa d’Avorio (ONUCI) has accused the military faithful to Gbagbo of attacking their patrols. The UN Security Council are ready to send another 2,000 “Blue Helmets” to support the 11,500 men from the ONUCI.