Mbeki be­gins Ivory Coast po­lit­i­cal mis­sion

The Pak Banker - - 6international -

IVORY COAST: Lau­rent Gbagbo and op­po­si­tion can­di­date Alas­sane Ou­at­tara have both sworn them­selves in af­ter claim­ing vic­tory in a pres­i­den­tial run-off. Mr Ou­at­tara was ini­tially de­clared the win­ner but the re­sult was over­turned in the in­cum­bent's favour.

The AU has warned the cri­sis could have "in­cal­cu­la­ble con­se­quences".

In a state­ment, the or­gan­i­sa­tion re­jected "any at­tempt to cre­ate a fait ac­com­pli to un­der­mine the elec­toral process and the will of the peo­ple". It called on all par­ties to "show the nec­es­sary re­straint and to re­frain from tak­ing ac­tions which will ex­ac­er­bate an al­ready frag­ile sit­u­a­tion". Sev­eral coun­tries and in­ter­na­tional or­gan­i­sa­tions - in­clud­ing the US, UN, France and the IMF - have backed Mr Ou­at­tara as the true win­ner of last Sun­day's run-off.

Mr Mbeki ar­rived at Abid­jan air­port on Sun­day morn­ing, South African em­bassy of­fi­cials said.

When he was pres­i­dent of South Africa, Mr Mbeki helped to me­di­ate a peace deal in Ivory Coast. But he was seen by the op­po­si­tion as be­ing un­com­fort­ably close to Mr Gbagbo.

The BBC's John James, in Abid­jan, says it is dif­fi­cult to see what scope there is for Mr Mbeki to me­di­ate, as both men are adamant that they le­git­i­mately won the poll.

The fear is that if he fails to find a way out, rebel groups in the north who sup­port Mr Ou­at­tara will take up arms in protest.

Mr Ou­at­tara was de­clared the win­ner on Thurs­day by Ivory Coast's Elec­tion Com­mis­sion, but on Fri­day its rul­ing was over­turned by the Con­sti­tu­tional Coun­cil, which is led by an ally of the in­cum­bent, Mr Gbagbo.

Once hailed as a model of sta­bil­ity, slipped into in­ter­nal strife sev­eral years af­ter death of first Pres­i­dent Felix Houphou­etBoigny in 1993. An armed re­bel­lion in 2002 split the coun­try be­tween rebel north and govern­ment south

A power-shar­ing govern­ment took over in 2007 with the ex-rebel leader as prime min­is­ter 2010: First pres­i­den­tial elec­tions in 10 years -cul­mi­na­tion of the peace process. -Ap

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