Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Cote d'Ivoire update

First the good news:

"The disputed president of Cote d'Ivoire, Laurent Gbagbo, has said that he is ready to talk to rival Alassane Ouattara, who was recognised by the UN and other international observers as the winner of November 28 presidential runoff poll."

Now, the bad news:

Patrick Achi, a politician named by Ouattara as minister for economic infrastructure, says he does not trust the Gbagbo camp's assurances that they are allowed to safely leave the hotel for talks.

"We do not trust these claims. We do not have any problem talking to [Gbagbo] but he has to recognise that Ouattara is the democratically elected president of this country," he told Al Jazeera from Abidjan on Wednesday.

You can understand their skepticism, given that Gbagbo has cut off food and medical supplies to the hotel where Ouattara is headquartered. And armed men in uniforms are reportedly abducting people from their homes at night"

“Abducted persons are reportedly taken by force to illegal places of detention where they are held incommunicado and without charge,” the United Nations said in a statement. “Some have been found dead in questionable circumstances.”

Meanwhile, France has urged its citizens to leave if possible. The World Bank has frozen loans to the country. And "Mr Ouattara has also appealed to the West African Central Bank (BCEAO) to cut off Mr Gbagbo's access to Ivory Coast's deposits, making it impossible for him to pay civil servants and soldiers."

Will keep you posted. As you know.

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