Friday, March 25, 2011

Ivory Coast: France asks U.N. council to sanction Ivory Coast's Gbagbo

By Louis Charbonneau and Patrick Worsnip

Source: Yahoo News

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – France and Nigeria circulated a draft resolution to the U.N. Security Council on Friday that would impose sanctions on Ivory Coast's incumbent leaders and ban heavy weapons from the Abidjan area.

French U.N. Ambassador Gerard Araud told reporters the 15-nation council was expected to discuss the draft resolution in detail next week. It was not immediately clear when the text could be put to a vote.

Speaking after a closed-door council meeting on Ivory Coast, Araud said that "we are very close to a civil war" in Abidjan, where clashes are intensifying between forces loyal to incumbent leader Laurent Gbagbo and those of his rival Alassane Ouattara.

The United Nations and African organizations say challenger Ouattara defeated Gbagbo in presidential elections in the West African state, the world's leading cocoa producer, last November. But Gbagbo says he won and has refused to quit.

The draft resolution, obtained by Reuters, echoes previous U.N. calls for Gbagbo to step down, forbids heavy weapons, and provides for sanctions against Gbagbo and his close advisers.

An annex to the draft lists the associates as Foreign Minister Alcide Djedje, Gbagbo's wife and senior figure in the Ivorian Popular Front (FPI) Simone Gbagbo, FPI chair Pascal Affi N'Guessan, and the secretary-general of Gbagbo's presidency, Desire Tagro.

They would be subject to asset freezes and travel bans. All except Djedje have already been sanctioned by the European Union. Araud said further names could be added.


The draft lays responsibility for protecting civilians on the 12,000-strong U.N. peacekeeping force in Ivory Coast, which it noted is authorized to use "all necessary means" to do so.

It stressed "the need to seize heavy weapons used against (the) civilian population, within its capabilities and its areas of deployment." Araud said this effectively meant Abidjan, the country's main city and commercial center.

Western diplomats on the council have for some time been urging the force, known as UNOCI, to adopt tougher measures, but U.N. officials say it is hampered by a concern to avoid harming civilians. They say Gbagbo supporters in civilian clothes have repeatedly sought to obstruct its efforts.

But Araud said the council had been assured by the U.N. peacekeeping department "that UNOCI is going to respond in a very robust way to attacks." In recent days it had shot back at Gbagbo's forces, he said.

Atul Khare, deputy head of peacekeeping, suggested in a report to the council on Friday that UNOCI was already doing all it could in a difficult situation. Gbagbo has sought unsuccessfully to order UNOCI out of the country.

"The mission is making every effort, within the challenging circumstances it faces ... to ensure that the mandates provided by you ... are implemented on the ground," Khare said.

The draft resolution also asks U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to send to the International Criminal Court the findings of a commission set up on Friday by the U.N. Human Rights Council to look into crimes in Ivory Coast. The court is already holding a preliminary probe into the situation there.

Araud said he believed there was a majority in the Security Council in favor of calling on Gbagbo to go. But it is not clear whether all members of the council will support all the other measures in the French-Nigerian draft.

Going into Friday's council meeting, Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin commented sarcastically to journalists, "Another big war -- it's just what we need." Russia has sought to tone down previous Security Council pronouncements on Ivory Coast.

(Editing by Vicki Allen)

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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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