Mediation Fails in Ivory Coast

Laurent Gbagbo offered amnesty, but still refuses to step down
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 4, 2011 9:08 AM CST
Kenya's PM Raila Odinga, left, Benin President, Boni Yayi, Sierra Leone's President Ernest Bai Koroma, Cape Verde President Pedro Pires and Laurent Gbagbo gather before a meeting.   (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)
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(Newser) – Despite international pressure and the up-close-and-personal pressure provided by three visiting African leaders, Laurent Gbagbo still refuses to step down. "There is still a stalemate," said the president of Nigeria after he spoke with the envoys who met with Gbagbo and the UN-backed Alassane Ouattara yesterday. The mediators, on their second trip in less than a week, reportedly offered Gbagbo legal amnesty and a guarantee of protection for his legal assets if he ceded power, reports the BBC. He didn't budge.

After the meeting, Ouattara declared the time for talks "over" and urged the West African bloc Ecowas "to use all the means at its disposal including the use of legitimate force." Though Ecowas has been drafting a military plan, the BBC notes that some doubt the region would actually pick up arms, fearful of the unpredictable response of the pro-Gbagbo Ivorian army. Meanwhile, Voice of America reports that the US is also applying pressure; though Gbagbo has refused to take calls or see the US ambassador, US officials have been in written communication with him, and say they're willing to help him made a "dignified exit."

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