from Africa in Transition

Gbagbo Lobbies ECOWAS

January 7, 2011

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Blog posts represent the views of CFR fellows and staff and not those of CFR, which takes no institutional positions.

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The standoff continues between Laurent Gbagbo and Alassane Ouattara in the aftermath of the apparent failure of the three heads of state from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Kenyan prime minister to convince Gbagbo to leave. Though he has significant Ivorian support, the army remains loyal, and he can count on his thugs, the Young Patriots, Gbagbo is isolated internationally. Ouattara supporters are urging outside military intervention to get Gbagbo out, a call that has at least some resonance in the region.

But military intervention by ECOWAS seems increasingly unlikely as recognition spreads that it could precipitate a bloody civil war. Gbagbo has now sent a delegation to Abuja, ECOWAS headquarters and the capital of Nigeria, to urge a "non-military" solution. A delegation spokesman returned to the theme of blaming France, especially President Nicholas Sarkozy of authoring the crisis as part of the former colonial power’s effort to "re-colonize" Cote d’Ivoire.

The delegation’s visit looks like vintage Gbagbo tactics: delay and obfuscation. Will Gbagbo next be calling for "powersharing" so that he can hang on?

More on:

Sub-Saharan Africa

Ivory Coast

Heads of State and Government

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