International community may bolster Côte d’Ivoire force

The international community may bolster the United Nations peacekeeping force in Côte d’Ivoire to head off any potential challenge by supporters of President Laurent Gbagbo, the United States State Department said on Wednesday.

State Department spokesperson PJ Crowley said Washington was discussing moves to strengthen the peacekeeping effort with France, Côte d’Ivoire’s former colonial ruler, and neighbouring African countries.

“We’re just having discussions, who might contribute forces and how they might go in to augment the UN peacekeeping force. Decisions have to be made on that and they haven’t been made yet,” Crowley said at a news briefing.

“It could be that that kind of reinforcement would be another way to send a clear message to President Gbagbo.”

Political crisis
Gbagbo has refused to quit after a November 28 election that African countries and Western powers say was won by challenger Alassane Ouattara, sparking a political crisis that has killed 50 people and threatens to reignite the country’s civil war.

Ouattara’s designated prime minister told French television on Wednesday that “it is obvious the only solution to the crisis is the use of force”.

The UN Security Council on Monday voted to extend its Unoci Côte d’Ivoire peacekeeping mission for another six months, dismissing Gbagbo’s demand that it should leave, and left open the option that it could be expanded.

France maintains a 900-member force in the country to support the 10 000-strong UN contingent.

Crowley said the United States believed the UN military mission had served as an important stabilising force and counterbalance to Gbagbo, who still claims the loyalty of top military leaders.

“We can’t rule out that at some point in time he may challenge the presence of that force through force of his own,” Crowley said. “We would hope that it is not necessary to deploy force but by the same token we recognise the value of having peacekeepers there.” — Reuters

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever. But it comes at a cost. Advertisers are cancelling campaigns, and our live events have come to an abrupt halt. Our income has been slashed.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years. We’ve survived thanks to the support of our readers, we will need you to help us get through this.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.


Nehawu launches urgent court bid over protective gear for health...

The health workers’ union says the government has rebuffed its attempts to meet about mitigating risks to workers

Stay at home, Cyril said. But what about the homeless?

In Tshwane, forcing homeless people off the street resulted in chaos and the abuse of a vulnerable population. In Durban, a smooth, well-planned operation fared far better

Press Releases

New energy mix on the cards

REI4P already has and will continue to yield thousands of employment opportunities

The online value of executive education in a Covid-19 world

Executive education courses further develop the skills of leaders in the workplace

Sisa Ntshona urges everyone to stay home, and consider travelling later

Sisa Ntshona has urged everyone to limit their movements in line with government’s request

SAB Zenzele’s special AGM postponed until further notice

An arrangement has been announced for shareholders and retailers to receive a 77.5% cash payout

20th Edition of the National Teaching Awards

Teachers are seldom recognised but they are indispensable to the country's education system

Awards affirm the vital work that teachers do

Government is committed to empowering South Africa’s teachers with skills, knowledge and techniques for a changing world

SAB Zenzele special AGM rescheduled to March 25 2020

New voting arrangements are being made to safeguard the health of shareholders