- Title: IVORY COAST: Gbagbo to boycott meeting at UN
- Date: 16th September 2006
- Summary: BN17) ABIDJAN, IVORY COAST (SEPTEMBER 14, 2006) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF PRESIDENT GBAGBO GREETING SOLDIERS AND OFFICIALS SET UP OF GBAGBO SOUNDBITE (French) LAURENT GBAGBO, IVORIAN PRESIDENT, SAYING: "I won't go to New York to protest against the impolite way (foreign mediators) deal with the affairs of my country." VARIOUS OF OFFICERS AND SOLDIERS SOUNDBITE (French) LAURENT GBAGBO, IVORIAN PRESIDENT, SAYING: "It is necessary for us to leave the process which has failed to return to a process carrying hope. I have written to the leaders of the African Union to ask them to bring together their Peace and Security Council and there I will make propositions for another peace process." LAURENT GBAGBO AND PHILIPPE MANGOU, ARMY CHIEF OF STAFF SOLDIERS LEAVING
- Embargoed: 1st October 2006 13:00
- Topics: International Relations,Domestic Politics
- Reuters ID: LVABGHKOZ0HJH2E5IKGQRCR4BZ3Y
- Story Text: Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo said on Thursday (September 14) he would boycott a meeting in New York to evaluate progress on the war-divided country's peace process and lashed out at foreign mediators working to implement it.
The West African country has been divided into a rebel-held north and government south since a brief 2002-03 civil war which grew out of the rebels' attempt to oust him.
A string of peace deals aiming to reunite the world's top cocoa grower have foundered as the foes bicker over the implementation of the agreements. Presidential elections due by Oct. 31 are now set to be postponed for the second time.
Kofi Annan called all sides to a Sept. 20 meeting on the margins of the U.N. general assembly in New York with regional African leaders to evaluate progress on the latest U.N.-backed peace plan, but Gbagbo said he would not go or be represented.
"I won't go to New York to protest against the impolite way (foreign mediators) deal with the affairs of my country," he said to rapturous applause from the soldiers assembled to hear him speak.
The U.N. peace blueprint maintained Gbagbo for up to a year after his mandate expired when elections were first postponed last October and drafted in a new prime minister with extra powers to reunite the country and organise polls in a year.
Gbagbo lashed out at a group of foreign diplomats who meet monthly in Abidjan to evaluate progress on the U.N. plan, saying they "annoy" him. He said he would soon make his own proposals for a new framework for the peace process.
"As this peace process has failed, I have written to the leaders of the African Union to ask them to bring together their Peace and Security Council and there I will make propositions for another peace process," said Gbagbo.
The foreign mediators' group last Friday called on the pan-African body and leaders from neighbouring states to propose how the country should be governed when the U.N.-backed transition period ends at the end of next month.
Gbagbo says he remains the country's constitutional leader until a successor is sworn in but the rebels and opposition say he will lack legitimacy after October.
Some analysts warn that more delays to elections could plunge the country, which was once an oasis of stability and prosperity in conflict-ravaged West Africa, back into civil war.
Ivory Coast's tangled political outlook has been further confused since toxic waste was unloaded from a ship and dumped at sites around Abidjan, killing seven and causing more than 23,000 people to seek medical care, the health ministry said.
The government resigned amid the public outcry but Gbagbo said a new administration was expected by the end of the week.
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