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Cote d’Ivoire: France And Others Restless; Still No Change …

  • January 5th, 2011
  • Posted by EUEditor

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President Nicolas Sarkozy of France has reaffirmed emphatic support for the electoral challenger in Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast), Alassane Ouattara, with talk of sanctions against the country if there is no change of government.
FRENCH RESOLVE

Mr Sarkozy declared in a speech at a military base on Tuesday (4.1.11), “ the President of Cote d’Ivoire is called  Alassane Ouattara, and he was chosen by the Ivoriens”.

That position is in line with close to unanimous international opinion that the incumbent President, Laurent Gbagbo, lost office in disputed elections on 28.11.10.

STAND-OFF CONTINUES

This week he was still refusing to stand down, despite appeals from visiting West African leaders, and delegates from the  African Union – several prepared to offer him personal sanctuary, if he would agree to move.

The government of France has denied any plans for military intervention, unless forced to act to protect its citizens in the former French colony; many of whom in any event have now moved out, on government advice..

It has forces there but says they will continue to act as part of a United Nations delegation; economic sanctions would be undertaken next to apply pressure for a change.

Laurent Gbagbo continues to hold sway with the support of the Cote d’Ivoire army, and has been using access to mass media to conduct a war of words against any United Nations intervention.

He says there should be an open international inquiry into the conduct of the elections, claiming that the major vote rorting took place on  the other side.

VIOLENT REACTIONS

Serious violence erupted after the November poll, sparking fears of a reversion  to armed rebellion in the country, experienced in  recent years, leading into civil war.

The United Nations Organisation is quoted as saying some 180 people have died with nearly 20000 fleeing as refugees from the fighting, to the neighbouring states of Liberia and Guinea.

Alassane Ouattara continues to wait for a change, in the city of Abidjan under United Nations protection.

See EUAustralia Online, “UN finds abuses in Cote d’Ivoire stand-off”, 23.12.10.

ANOTHER HEADACHE IN  PARIS

France in the meantime has come in for its share of embarrassment over the continued release of American-held documents through the Wikileaks network.

This time the documents are listing complaints that industrial spying, including the theft of technology, by French interests, exceeds that of other named players, China and Russia.

Electronics industry sources in Germany are quoted as objecting to “evil empire” activities on the part of France, in the fight over contracts for satellite construction, linked to the European Union navigation system Galileo.

Reference

Le Monde, Paris, 4.1.11, “M. Sarkozy : ‘Le président de la Côte d’Ivoire s’appelle Alassane Ouattara’”. http://www.lemonde.fr/international/article/2011/01/04/m-sarkozy-le-president-de-la-cote-d-ivoire-s-appelle-alassane-ouattara_1460936_3210.html#xtor=EPR-32280229-[NL_Titresdujour]-20110104-[zonea]&ens_id=1445146, (5.1.11).

Le Monde, AFP, Paris, “WikiLeaks : l’espionnage économique de Paris dérange ses alliés européens”, (Wikileaks – French economic espionage upsets the European allies), 4.1.11.  www.lemonde,fr, (5.1.11).

Xinhua, Beijing, “France denies military intervention in Cote d’Ivoire”, 4.1.11. http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/world/2011-01/04/c_13676517.htm, (5.1.11).

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