Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Ivory Coast strongman says he's not stepping down

By RUKMINI CALLIMACHI, Associated Press

Source: Yahoo News 

President Laurent Gbagbo


ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast – Ivory Coast's strongman leader Laurent Gbagbo holed up in a bunker inside the presidential residence Tuesday, defiantly maintaining he won the election four months ago even as troops backing the internationally recognized winner encircled the home.


Gbagbo's comments by telephone to France's LCI television came as French officials and a diplomat said he was negotiating his departure terms after French and U.N. forces launched a military offensive Monday. Democratically elected leader Alassane Ouattara has urged his supporters to take Gbagbo alive.


Talks about Gbagbo's departure terms were ongoing Tuesday evening directly between Gbagbo and Ouattara, according to a diplomat who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly.

Choi Young-jin, the U.N.'s top envoy in Ivory Coast, said Tuesday that Gbagbo was in discussions about where he would go, possibly suggesting the strongman may be willing to consider stepping down after more than a decade in power.

When asked by The Associated Press Television News if he was confident that Gbagbo has decided to leave, Choi said:

"Yes, because as far as I know the key elements they are negotiating is where Mr. Gbagbo would go."

"Mr. Gbagbo has signaled for the first time since the crisis, he will accept the will of the people, the results of the election," Choi said.

France's foreign minister said Gbagbo would be required to relinquish power in writing after a decade as president, and must formally recognize Ouattara, the internationally backed winner of the November election that plunged the West African nation into chaos.

But Gbagbo showed no intention of leaving, declaring in his interview with French television, that Ouattara "did not win the elections" even though he was declared the victor by the U.N., African Union, United States, former colonial power France and other world leaders.

"I won the election and I am not negotiating my departure," Gbagbo said by telephone. The French channel said the interview was conducted by phone from his residence at 1730 GMT, and lasted about 20 minutes.

United Nations and French forces opened fire with attack helicopters on Gbagbo's arms stockpiles and bases on Monday after four months of political deadlock in the former French colony in West Africa. Columns of foot soldiers allied with Ouattara also finally pierced the city limits of Abidjan.

"One might think that we are getting to the end of the crisis," Hamadoun Toure, spokesman for the U.N. mission to Ivory Coast said by phone. "We spoke to his close aides, some had already defected, some are ready to stop fighting. He is alone now, he is in his bunker with a handful of supporters and family members. So is he going to last or not? I don't know."

Toure said that the U.N. had received phone calls Tuesday from the three main Gbagbo-allied generals, saying they were planning to order their troops to stop fighting.

"They asked us to accept arms and ammunition from the troops and to provide them protection," he said.

The offensive that began Monday included air attacks on the presidential residence and three strategic military garrisons, marking an unprecedented escalation in the international community's efforts to oust Gbagbo, as pro-Ouattara fighters pushed their way to the heart of the city to reach Gbagbo's home.

President Barack Obama said Tuesday he welcomed the role of the U.N. and French forces in Ivory Coast, also known by its French name Cote d'Ivoire.

"To end this violence and prevent more bloodshed, former President Gbagbo must stand down immediately, and direct those who are fighting on his behalf to lay down their arms," Obama said in a statement. "Every day that the fighting persists will bring more suffering, and further delay the future of peace and prosperity that the people of Cote d'Ivoire deserve."

Gbagbo refused to cede power to Ouattara even as the world's largest cocoa producer teetered on the brink of all-out civil war as the political crisis drew out, with both men claiming the presidency. Ouattara has tried to rule from a lagoonside hotel, while Gbagbo has stubbornly refused every olive branch extended to him.

On Tuesday, the African Union's Peace and Security Council again urged Gbagbo to cede power immediately to Ouattara "in order to curtail the suffering of the Ivorian people."

The French foreign minister said negotiations with Gbagbo and his family were ongoing.

"His adviser, Alcide Djedje, who is presented as his foreign minister, has arrived at the French Embassy and he's in the process of discussions on conditions of Gbagbo's departure," Juppe said from France.

Even before the offensive, postelection violence had left hundreds dead — most of them Ouattara supporters — and forced up to 1 million people to flee their homes.

Ivory Coast gained independence from France in 1960, and some 20,000 French citizens still lived there when a brief civil war broke out in 2002. French troops were then tasked by the U.N. with monitoring a cease-fire and protecting foreign nationals in Ivory Coast, which was once an economic star and is still one of the only countries in the region with four-lane highways, skyscrapers, escalators and wine bars.

Following four months of attempts to negotiate Gbagbo's departure, the U.N. Security Council unanimously passed an especially strong resolution giving the 12,000-strong peacekeeping operation the right "to use all necessary means to carry out its mandate to protect civilians under imminent threat of physical violence ... including to prevent the use of heavy weapons against the civilian population."
___
Associated Press writers Edith M. Lederer at the United Nations; Michelle Faul in Accra, Ghana; Marco Chown Oved in Abidjan, Ivory Coast; and Jenny Barchfield and Angela Charlton in Paris contributed to this report.

News Headline

Inside Liberia with Bernard Gbayee Goah

Contact Me

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

DISCLAIMER

Statements and opinions expressed in articles, reviews and other materials herein are those of the authors. While every care has been taken in the compilation of information on this website/blog, and every attempt made to present up-to-date and accurate information, I cannot guarantee that inaccuracies will not occur. Inside Liberia with Bernard Gbayee Goah will not be held responsible for any claim, loss, damage or inconvenience caused as a result of any information within these pages or any information accessed through this website/blog. The content of any organizations websites which you link to from this website/blog are entirely out of the control of Inside Liberia With Bernard Gbayee Goah, and you proceed at your own risk. These links are provided purely for your convenience. They do not imply Inside Liberia With Bernard Gbayee Goah's endorsement of or association with any products, services, content, information or materials offered by or accessible to you at said organizations site.