Me­di­a­tors try to in­ter­vene in Ivory Coast chaos

The Pak Banker - - 6international -

ABID­JAN: In­ter­na­tional me­di­a­tors tried to in­ter­vene Sun­day in Ivory Coast's grow­ing po­lit­i­cal cri­sis af­ter both can­di­dates in the dis­puted elec­tion said they were now pres­i­dent, rais­ing fears the coun­try could again be di­vided in two.

In the north­ern op­po­si­tion strong­hold of Bouake, sev­eral hun­dred peo­ple marched down a main boule­vard Sun­day af­ter­noon, call­ing for in­cum­bent Lau­rent Gbagbo to stand down. Vil­lagers wield­ing ma­chetes also cre­ated their own check­point in protest along one ma­jor road in the re­gion.

"It's im­por­tant not to have vi­o­lence, not to re­turn to war - to find a peace­ful so­lu­tion," for­mer South African Pres­i­dent Thabo Mbeki said Sun­day af­ter ar­riv­ing in Abid­jan to try and me­di­ate at the be­hest of the African Union. The in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity has rec­og­nized op­po­si­tion leader Alas­sane Ou­at­tara as the win­ner of the pres­i­den­tial runoff vote held one week ago in Ivory Coast, the world's largest co­coa pro­ducer.

That, how­ever, did not stop Gbagbo from de­fy­ing calls to con­cede. On Satur­day, he wrapped him­self in the Ivo­rian flag as he was sworn in for an­other term at the pres­i­den­tial palace. Hours later, Ou­at­tara told re­porters that he too had been sworn into of­fice. Ou­at­tara then went ahead and named a prime min­is­ter. On Sun­day night, Gbagbo fol­lowed suit and on state TV, the ticker run­ning un­der the main TV news an­nounced that col­lege pro­fes­sor N'Gbo Gil­bert Marie Ake had as­sumed the post of prime min­is­ter. The devel­op­ment ef­fec­tively set up par­al­lel gov­ern­ments and raised se­ri­ous ques­tions about who was ac­tu­ally in charge of this West African nation, which was split into a rebel-con­trolled north and govern­ment-con­trolled south by a 2002-2003 civil war. -Ap

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