Wednesday, January 19, 2011

UN adds 2,000 troops to Ivory Coast force

By EDITH M. LEDERER, Associated Press
Source: Yahoo News

Laurent Gbagbo
UNITED NATIONS – The U.N. Security Council on Wednesday voted unanimously to deploy 2,000 additional peacekeepers to Ivory Coast, where the incumbent president has refused to relinquish his post to the man internationally recognized as the West African country's legitimate leader.

Ivory Coast has seen violence and increased tension since the disputed presidential election in November. The new U.N. troops, to be deployed through June, would bolster the world body's peacekeeping force to nearly 12,000.

African Union envoy Raila Odinga, Kenya's prime minister, said Wednesday that despite two days of meetings he has failed to persuade incumbent Laurent Gbagbo to relinquish the presidency to Alassane Ouattara.

Ouattara, declared the winner of the elections, has been unable to assume the presidency because Gbagbo refuses to leave office despite sanctions, multiple visits by African leaders and now the threat of a military ouster.

"I regret to announce that the breakthrough that was needed did not materialize," Odinga said in a statement issued Wednesday morning.

Odinga said Gbagbo had broken several promises that he had made to lift a blockade put in place around the Abidjan hotel where Ouattara is confined.

"Mr. Gbagbo gave me an assurance that this blockade would be lifted yesterday, but he broke that promise — for the second time in two weeks," Odinga said.

Swiss authorities, meanwhile, were moving to immediately freeze any assets belonging to Gbagbo, Swiss President and Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey said Wednesday. It was not immediately known how much money Gbagbo may have in Swiss bank accounts.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said peacekeepers face an "openly hostile security environment" with threats from forces loyal to Gbagbo. Attacks against the peacekeepers have been mounting. Last week six of their cars were destroyed by pro-Gbagbo mobs, who accuse the U.N. of bias, and of being part of "a foreign plot" to remove the leader.

The Security Council on Wednesday also extended the temporary deployment of 400 troops and 100 police officers from March 31 until June 30. It said three infantry companies and two utility helicopters from Liberia should remain in Ivory Coast for four more weeks, and authorized the transfer of three armed helicopters from Liberia to Ivory Coast for four weeks.

Pro-Gbagbo forces have been accused of targeting Ouattara's supporters in the commercial hub of Abidjan, and supporters of both candidates have taken to the streets in protest. The United Nations has reported more than 200 deaths in postelection violence.

A West African bloc has threatened military intervention if Gbagbo does not step down.

"Time is running out for an amicably negotiated settlement," Odinga said. "In addition, the window of any opportunity for any amnesty will continue to close if Mr. Gbagbo's supporters continue to commit crimes against civilians and peacekeepers."

Once a prosperous state, Ivory Coast has become a nation perpetually in crisis following the disputed 2000 election that brought Gbagbo to power. The country was plunged into civil war in 2002, and a presidential election initially scheduled for 2005 has been delayed every year since.

In a televised debate on the eve of the vote, Gbagbo vowed to respect the results issued by the country's independent electoral commission. He changed his mind several days later when the commission announced that he had lost, and the U.N. certified Ouattara's victory.

Odinga ran as the opposition candidate in Kenya's disputed 2007 presidential vote, which led to violence that left more than 1,000 people dead. He was later appointed prime minister as part of a power-sharing deal. On Wednesday, he said Ivory Coast could set a dangerous precedent for Africa.

"If the continent's people came to believe that their votes were not what brought to power the leaders they wanted, elections would become meaningless and pave the way for unrest and instability throughout the continent," he said. ___

Associated Press writers Marco Chown Oved in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, and John Heilprin in Bern, Switzerland contributed to this report.

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Inside Liberia with Bernard Gbayee Goah

Everyone is a genius

Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid. – A Einstein

Drawing the line in Liberia

Crimes sponsored, committed, or masterminded by handful of individuals cannot be blamed upon an entire nationality. In this case, Liberians! The need for post-war justice is a step toward lasting peace, stability and prosperity for Liberia. Liberia needs a war crimes tribunal or some credible legal forum that is capable of dealing with atrocities perpetrated against defenseless men, women and children during the country's brutal war. Without justice, peace shall remain elusive and investment in Liberia will not produce the intended results. - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Men with unhealthy characters should not champion any noble cause

They pretend to advocate the cause of the people when their deeds in the dark mirror nothing else but EVIL!!
When evil and corrupt men try to champion a cause that is so noble … such cause, how noble it may be, becomes meaningless in the eyes of the people - Bernard Gbayee Goah.

If Liberia must move forward ...

If Liberia must move forward in order to claim its place as a civilized nation amongst world community of nations, come 2017 elections, Liberians must critically review the events of the past with honesty and objectivity. They must make a new commitment to seek lasting solutions. The track records of those who are presenting themselves as candidates for the position of "President of the Republic of Liberia" must be well examined. Liberians must be fair to themselves because results from the 2011 elections will determine the future of Liberia’s unborn generations to come - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Liberia's greatest problem!

While it is true that an individual may be held responsible for corruption and mismanagement of funds in government, the lack of proper system to work with may as well impede the process of ethical, managerial, and financial accountability - Bernard Gbayee Goah

What do I think should be done?

The situation in Liberia is Compound Complex and cannot be fixed unless the entire system of government is reinvented.
Liberia needs a workable but uncompromising system that will make the country an asylum free from abuse, and other forms of corruption.
Any attempt to institute the system mentioned above in the absence of rule of law is meaningless, and more detrimental to Liberia as a whole - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Liberia's Natural Resources
Besides land water and few other resources, most of Liberia’s dependable natural resources are not infinite, they are finite and therefore can be depleted.
Liberia’s gold, diamond, and other natural resources will not always be an available source of revenue generation for its people and its government. The need to invent a system in government that focuses on an alternative income generation method cannot be over emphasized at this point - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Liberia needs a proper system
If Liberians refuse to erect a proper system in place that promotes the minimization of corruption and mismanagement of public funds by government institutions, and individuals, there will come a time when the value of the entire country will be seen as a large valueless land suited on the west coast of Africa with some polluted bodies of waters and nothing else. To have no system in place in any country is to have no respect for rule of law. To have no respect for rule of law is to believe in lawlessness. And where there is lawlessness, there is always corruption - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Solving problems in the absence of war talks

As political instability continues to increase in Africa, it has become abundantly clear that military intervention as a primary remedy to peace is not a durable solution. Such intervention only increases insecurity and massive economic hardship. An existing example which could be a valuable lesson for Liberia is Great Britain, and the US war on terror for the purpose of global security. The use of arms whether in peace keeping, occupation, or invasion as a primary means of solving problem has yield only little results. Military intervention by any country as the only solution to problem solving will result into massive military spending, economic hardship, more fear, and animosity as well as increase insecurity. The alternative is learning how to solve problems in the absence of war talks. The objective of such alternative must be to provide real sustainable human security which cannot be achieved through military arm intervention, or aggression. In order to achieve results that will make the peaceful coexistence of all mankind possible, there must be a common ground for the stories of all sides to be heard. I believe there are always three sides to every story: Their side of the story, Our side of the story, and The truthBernard Gbayee Goah


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