Odinga makes fresh attempt to break Côte d'Ivoire election deadlock
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Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga was due to arrive in Côte d'Ivoire on Monday in a bid to resolve the stalemate over the west African country’s election results. Both Laurent Gbagbo and Alassane Ouattara claim to have won last November's presidential election and both have taken the oath as president.
Ouattara's followers have called for a new general strike on Tuesday, while Gbagbo's army is besieging Ouattara at an Abidjan hotel.
Odinga, who is on his second visit to the Côte d'Ivoire since being appointed African Union mediator, said he was travelling to Abidjan with a "new peace offer" for Gbagbo. He declined to provide details of what it might include.
It was unclear how long Odinga will stay in Abidjan. He said he would probably travel to other countries for consultations after this visit, including Ghana, Angola, and Burkina Faso.
Odinga's first trip to the Côte d’Ivoire’s economic capital ended with little progress after Gbagbo failed to make good on promises that mediators said he made.
Previous inducements to step down included immunity from prosecution for eventual crimes against humanity, exile in various countries, the possibility of staying in the Côte d'Ivoire and participation in a unity government.
While the United States said last week that the window of opportunity to take up such offers would not be open for long, Gbagbo insists his election victory and title of president are non-negotiable.
Yesterday, Odinga met with Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, the current chairman of the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas). Ecowas has threatened the use of force if Gbagbo does not step down in favour of his internationally-recognised rival.
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