African mediators to meet on Ivory Coast crisis

Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga will meet Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan on Sunday to discuss the crisis in Ivory Coast.

African mediators to meet on Ivory Coast crisis

Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga will meet Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan on Sunday to discuss the crisis in Ivory Coast, the latest piece of shuttle diplomacy to try to end an election stand-off.

Odinga, sent by the African Union to mediate in the Ivory Coast crisis, will meet Jonathan, chairman of the West African regional bloc ECOWAS, at the presidential villa in the Nigerian capital Abuja, Jonathan's office said.

"The president will be meeting with the prime minister of Kenya on the Ivory Coast crisis this evening," Nigerian presidency spokesman Ima Niboro said, without giving details.

Officials said three West African heads of state who have also been involved in ECOWAS mediation efforts -- Benin's Boni Yayi, Sierra Leone's Ernest Bai Koroma and Cape Verde's Pedro Pines -- may also attend the meeting.

The United Nations human rights office has said at least 247 people have been killed in violence in the world's biggest cocoa grower since a disputed presidential election on Nov. 28, which risks sending the country back into civil war.

In the latest move in international efforts to persuade incumbent Laurent Gbagbo to quit after an election he is widely held to have lost, the European Union on Saturday froze assets of the country's ports, its state oil firm and three banks.

Gbagbo's camp brushed off the tighter sanctions and said he still had access to accounts at West Africa's central bank, even though regional leaders recognise his election rival Alassane Ouattara as legitimate leader of the country.

ECOWAS has said it could use "legitimate force" if Gbagbo refuses to go quietly.

Odinga and the three West African heads of state met Gbagbo and Ouattara in Abidjan two weeks ago but failed to persuade Gbagbo to cede power.


Reuters

Last Mod: 16 Ocak 2011, 17:10
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