Saturday, December 11, 2010

Ivory Coast update

The latest from the Cote d'Ivoire presidential election is that the current president, Laurent Gbagbo (i.e. "the loser," according to almost everybody) is willing to talk. "Let's sit down and talk. If there is a problem, we will sit down and talk," he tells reporters. To my ears that sounds like a prelude to an attempt to set up a power-sharing agreement. I am not alone in thinking this is a bad idea.

Meanwhile, "The United States said Friday it was looking for more ways to pressure Ivory Coast's incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo into handing power over to his election rival Alassane Ouattara." One form of pressure already applied is that the African Union has suspended Ivory Coast's membership. "AU official Ramtane Lamamra said Ivory Coast would remain suspended until opposition candidate Alassane Ouattara "takes over" from Laurent Gbagbo."

Not much word that I've found about what things are like for people on the ground. The UNHCR reports that around 2,000 Ivorians have fled to Liberia and Guinea. And the NY Times has a disturbing story that reports that "the government’s security agents, often wearing hoods, have beaten, shot and killed opposition activists and residents in neighborhoods known to support...Alassane Ouattara." Can't tell, though, if food and fuel shortages continue, though I doubt the situation has improved.

A huge tip o' the hat to Sahel Blog which provided the links to these stories.

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