Gbagbo Team Rejects AU Mediation on Ivory Coast

Published on Thursday 10th March 2011

Allies of Ivory Coast's incumbent president Laurent Gbagbo say he has rejected an African proposal to end the country's political crisis.Members of a pro-Gbagbo delegation termed the proposal unacceptable Thursday following talks at African Union headquarters in Ethiopia's capital.There was no immediate comment from Gbagbo’s presidential rival, Alassane Ouattara, who traveled to Addis Ababa for the mediation effort.The AU and the United Nations recognize Ouattara as the winner of last November's presidential runoff election.  However, Ivory Coast's constitutional court proclaimed Gbagbo the winner, and the incumbent has refused to give up power.An AU panel including five African presidents was given the task of resolving the dispute.  The panel is due to release its recommendations later Thursday.Ouattara's trip to Addis Ababa marks the first time he has left Ivory Coast since the start of the unrest that followed the November 28 election.  He had been barricaded in an Abidjan hotel surrounded by pro-Gbagbo troops. Gbagbo did not attend the talks in Ethiopia.  On Wednesday, the incumbent leader demanded the resumption of cocoa exports.   Ouattara banned the exports in January as part of efforts to financially strangle the Gbagbo government.An official said Wednesday that the Gbagbo government could seize the cocoa beans if they are not exported by the end of the month.The United Nations says fighting between Gbagbo and Ouattara supporters in Ivory Coat has killed at least 365 people since the crisis began and prompted tens of thousands to flee the country.



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