AU mediator in Cote d'Ivoire crisis holds talks with Gbagbo

16:06, January 18, 2011      

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Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga, who is also the African Union (AU) mediator in Cote d'Ivoire's post-election crisis, began a new round of discussions by first meeting with incumbent Laurent Gbagbo on Monday.

Having arrived in the country early in the afternoon, Odinga went to the presidential palace shortly before 5 p.m. local time and was welcomed by Gbagbo. He did not speak to the press.

The visit by the Kenyan prime minister comes amid a tense atmosphere. The UN peacekeepers responsible for his security had been attacked earlier by pro-Gbagbo supporters, forcing them to shoot in the air to disperse the demonstrators who were calling themselves "the youth patriots."

Both camps of the declared presidents, Alassane Ouattara and Gbagbo, stand firm on their claimant.

Ouattara's camp has renewed calls for a new "general strike" starting Tuesday.

Odinga had early in the year led an unfruitful mission to Abidjan composed of three emissaries of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). The objective of the mission was to persuade Gbagbo to cede power to his rival who was recognized as the winner by the international community.

The Kenyan prime minister accompanied by a very strong delegation is also expected to meet with Ouattara who is holed up in an Abidjan hotel.

Source: Xinhua
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