afrol News, 19 January - Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga, the AU mediator for Côte d'Ivoire, left the country noting ex-President Laurent Gbagbo was breaking promises and that time was "running out". But he managed to get Ghana to support military action.
"Time is running out for an amicably negotiated settlement," Mr Odinga told the press when leaving Côte d'Ivoire. "In addition, the window of opportunity for any amnesty will continue to close if Mr Gbagbo's supporters continue to commit crimes against civilians and peacekeepers."
The Kenyan Prime Minister, acting as mediator on behalf of the African Union (AU), had meetings with both Mr Gbagbo and the winner of the Ivorian election, Alassane Ouattara, who remains under siege at the Golf Hotel. Mr Odinga made it clear that he was disappointed by the stubbornness of Mr Gbagbo.
One of Mr Odinga's principal goals while in Côte d'Ivoire was "that a blockade at the Golf Hotel be lifted. Mr Gbagbo gave me an assurance that this blockade would be lifted yesterday at midday, but he broke that promise for the second time in two weeks," the Kenyan PM told the press.
He made it clear that his patience with Mr Gbagbo was running out. The AU would soon impose stronger sanctions against Côte d'Ivoire and Mr Gbagbo, it became clear.
PM Odinga left from Côte d'Ivoire to neighbouring Ghana, where President John Atta Mills earlier had hollowed the threat of a possible military intervention from the regional block ECOWAS. The AU fully stands behind ECOWAS' threat of military action to force Mr Gbagbo to step back.
In Accra, Mr Odinga today was more successful than in Abidjan. He managed to convince President Atta Mills to withdraw his opposition to a possible military intervention in Côte d'Ivoire. Ghana, the President said, would not oppose an ECOWAS intervention, but would not have military resources to participate as the country's army already had 500 UN peacekeepers stationed in Côte d'Ivoire.
Ghanaian presidential spokesman Koku Anyidoho confirmed this to the nation press. Ghana, he said, had signed the 24 December ECOWAS communiqué threatening with military action. While Mr Anyidoho held such action was "unlikely", he emphasised Ghana stood fully behind the ECOWAS communiqué and would not vote against such action if deemed necessary by ECOWAS.
While the Ghanaian presidency plays down the possibility of military action as "unlikely", especially the Nigerian and Senegalese governments push for an effective threat against Mr Gbagbo. The fact that Kenyan PM Odinga bothered to spend the day in Accra to convince President Atta Mills demonstrates that even within the AU, a military scenario is considered a likely option.
In other news, the UN Security Council today unanimously decided to deploy an additional 2,000 peacekeepers in Côte d'Ivoire, adding to the 9,000 troops strong UN mission. The mission's mandate was however not changed, meaning the UN troops would not participate in an attempt to oust Mr Gbagbo.
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