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02 Jul 2018
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Four African presidents head to I.Coast for mediation
Four African presidents headed to the Ivory Coast Monday in a new effort to break a nearly three-month impasse over the leadership of the country after disputed elections, amid mounting tensions.
AFP , Monday 21 Feb 2011
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Four African Presidents, who met in Mauritania on Sunday to draw up a strategy to end a deadlock that has already claimed scores of lives, travelled to Abidjan separately Monday, officials said.
The first to arrive was Chad's President Idriss Deby Itno, according to an AFP photographer.
He was to be followed by Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz; South Africa's Jacob Zuma; and Jikaya Kikwete from Tanzania. A fifth president at the Nouakchott talks, Blaise Compaore of Burkina Faso, would not make the trip "due to security reasons", his office said.
Compaore has been accused by supporters of Laurent Gbagbo, who refuses to accept that he lost the November 28 vote and step down, of backing Alassane Outtara, recognised by most of the international community as the winner.
More than 1,000 pro-Gbagbo supporters gathered at the airport in Abidjan on Sunday night to oppose his visit.
The four African leaders, tasked by the African Union to deal with the dragging dispute, are to meet the rivals for president to present their proposals for resolving the crisis, officials said. They will have until February 28 to come up with "binding" resolutions.
Their mission follows others by various African leaders to mediate an end to the impasse, all of which have failed despite threats of military intervention by a west African regional bloc.
The weekend meeting in Nouakchott came amid escalating tensions in Abidjan where at least three youths were shot dead Saturday when security forces loyal to Gbagbo cracked down on pro-Ouattara supporters.
Some 300 people have been killed in violence since the election, according to the United Nations.
A diplomatic source speaking on condition of anonymity said Saturday's unrest was "discussed at length" during the Nouakchott talks.
Mauritania's president, the chairman of the five-member panel, said before the meeting: "The negative repercussions of this crisis which we strongly deplore is severely affecting our Ivorian brothers, the sub-region and Africa as a whole."
He voiced hope for a "peaceful solution that preserves peace, stability and democracy in Ivory Coast, and strengthens the unity and cohesion of its people."
Jean Ping, chairman of the AU Commission, and UN representative in West Africa Said Djinitt were also present at the meeting in the Mauritanian capital.
The two rival Ivorian sides have however expressed serious reservations about the composition of the African Union panel and its chances of breaking the stalemate.
Ouattara's Prime Minister Guillaume Soro told a French newspaper on Sunday he did not believe the mediation would succeed "because Laurent Gbagbo will never accept hearing that he lost the elections and must cede power".
"The solution is not power sharing but the installation of democratic rules accepted by all" failing which, the solution would be a "revolution" as seen recently in Egypt and Tunisia, he said.
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