Mediator heads to I Coast for crisis talks

Time of article published Feb 22, 2010

Share this article:

The mediator in Ivory Coast's political crisis, Burkino Faso's President Blaise Compaore, heads to Abidjan Monday for talks with government and opposition leaders to break the stalemate.

Compaore's visit to Ivory Coast was to try to find a way out of the crisis, his office said Sunday.

On Sunday, Compaore met in Ouagadougou with key Ivorian opposition chiefs, ex-president Henri Konan Bedie and former prime minister Alassane Ouattara.

After the meeting, he said that urgent talks between the opposition and Ivorian Prime Minister Guillaume Soro and President Laurent Gbagbo would take place in the coming days.

The discussions would aim "to get to the bottom of this question of the electoral process" in Ivory Coast, he said in a statement.

But while Compaore expressed the hope that all political parties would be represented in the government, Bedie said this was "not being envisaged for the moment."

Soro was expected to name a new government on Monday, more than a week after Gbagbo sacked the cabinet and the electoral commission over alleged fraud in compiling a voter's roll, something his entourage confirmed late on Sunday.

The opposition has opposed the formation of a new government until the electoral commission has been reinstated. More recently they have also called on Gbagbo to resign.

Violent protests have taken place across Ivory Coast since Gbagbo's shock announcements on February 12, which came after investigators said they had found evidence of fraud in a voters' roll being compiled for the poll.

At least five people were killed and nine injured Friday in clashes between demonstrators and security forces in the western town of Gagnoa.

Fresh demonstrations erupted on Saturday, including in Ivory Coast's second-largest city of Bouake, a stronghold of Soro's ex-rebel New Forces (FN), where about 1 000 protesters marched with calls to oust Gbagbo.

And in the northern city of Korhogo, also controlled by the FN, protesters set on fire the headquarters of the presidential party, the Ivorian Popular Front (FPI).

The party called on Soro to quickly install a new government in the face of an "insurrection" by the opposition.

UN chief Ban Ki-moon has expressed concern over Ivory Coast's latest crisis and the head of the UN peacekeeping mission in Ivory Coast (ONUCI) visited the wounded in Gagnoa hospitals on Saturday.

The current turmoil has cast fresh doubt on the west African nation's ability to hold a presidential election, which had been scheduled for March and which has already been postponed six times.

The vote is designed to unify a nation split between the south and the FN-controlled north. Elections have been delayed six times since Gbagbo's mandate ran out, in 2005. - AFP

Share this article: