- Title: IVORY COAST: Ivorians hope regional body will solve political deadlock
- Date: 30th December 2010
- Summary: (SOUNDBITE) (French) ABIDJAN RESIDENT, NOEL GAKPA, SAYING: "For me this comes too late as they should have given out resolutions and not wait for this to become venomous. At the stage we've reached, we can't tell how this will end, that's mainly it. We shouldn't have waited, it's as if we're frantically trying to sort it out now. They waited for the fire to start burning before coming to put it out. That's not the way it should go." MORE ABIDJAN STREET SCENES
- Embargoed: 14th January 2011 12:00
- Location: Cote d'Ivoire
- Country: Ivory Coast
- Topics: International Relations,Domestic Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA5VXZ6ECGBST39JQIVPFMPW3CI
- Story Text: Ivorians are hopeful of an end to political deadlock after a delegation of three West African presidents meet incumbent leader Laurent Gbagbo to deliver an ultimatum to step down or face being removed from office.
A delegation of three West African presidents who met incumbent Ivory Coast leader Laurent Gbagbo on Tuesday (December 28) to deliver an ultimatum to step down or face force, left saying more meetings were needed.
Gbagbo's government, meanwhile, remained defiant in the face of international pressure to cede power, saying it would sever ties with any country that recognised envoys named by rival presidential claimant Alassane Ouattara.
Ordinary Ivorians however, tired after years of civil war, are putting their hopes in the West African regional bloc.
"ECOWAS can find a solution to this crisis, simply because ECOWAS knows the Ivorian crisis very well, and secondly because with ECOWAS it would be Africans sorting out Africans' problems. Thirdly, the ECOWAS presidents are as concerned by the Ivorian crisis as Ivorians themselves, and the solution to this type of crisis must come from Africa and then be proposed to the rest of the world," said Antoine Arding, a man from Abidjan.
Three west African presidents -- Benin's Thomas Boni Yayi, Sierra Leone's Ernest Bai Koroma and Cape Verde's Pedro Pires -- met Gbagbo to deliver an ultimatum from the ECOWAS regional bloc to step down as leader of the world's top cocoa grower or be removed by force.
The delegation planned to travel to Nigeria to report back to the bloc's chairman, President Goodluck Jonathan.
Some Ivorians fear this may be too little too late.
"For me this comes too late as they should have given out resolutions and not wait for this to become venomous. At the stage we've reached, we can't tell how this will end, that's mainly it. We shouldn't have waited, it's as if we're frantically trying to sort it out now. They waited for the fire to start burning before coming to put it out. That's not the way it should go." said Noel Gakpa, another man from Abidjan.
The foreign minister of Gbagbo's government, Alcide Djedje, said the next meeting would be "around January 2".
Gbagbo's government has signalled he is unlikely to agree to bow to international pressure and cede power to Ouattara, considered by regional and world powers to be the legitimate winner of last month's presidential election.
The United States and the European Union (EU) have imposed a travel ban on Gbagbo and his inner circle, while the World Bank and the regional West African central bank have frozen his finances in an attempt to weaken his grip on power.
Gbagbo's camp originally said it would welcome the visiting leaders "as brothers and friends, and listen to the message they have to convey". But shortly before the meeting, his government warned it would not tolerate any meddling in its affairs.
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