South Africa's Zuma arrives in Cote d'Ivoire

22:09, February 21, 2011      

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South African President Jacob Zuma arrived in Abidjan on Monday after the arrival of Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete, in a bid to try to find a solution to Cote d'Ivoire's political crisis.

Zuma is a member of the high-level panel on Cote d'Ivoire set up by the African Union (AU)'s Peace and Security Council early this month to deal with the Cote d'Ivoire crisis.

The panel is composed of presidents from Mauritania, South Africa, Burkina Faso, Tanzania and Chad, as well as the chief of the AU Commission and the head of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

The panel will evaluate the situation in Cote d'Ivoire and come up with a conclusion that will be binding on all parties after endorsement by the AU Peace and Security Council (PSC).

Cote d'Ivoire has been trapped in a political impasse since the landmark presidential run-off held on Nov. 28. Both the incumbent Laurent Gbagbo and opposition leader Alassane Ouattara claimed victory and swore themselves in as president of the country, and formed their respective governments.

Gbagbo was backed by the country's Constitutional Council, while Ouattara has the support of the electoral commission and the international community including the United Nations (UN), the AU and ECOWAS.

ECOWAS has been urging Gbagbo to step down and vowed the use of "legitimate force" if he fails to heed its immutable demand.

Gbagbo has been defying international requests, and has ordered the UN peacekeeping mission in Cote d'Ivoire, known as UNOCI, to leave the country. The West African country was put at the real risk of a civil war.

Source: Xinhua
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