Côte d'Ivoire

African Union chief arrives in Côte d'Ivoire

Reuters/Philippe Wojazer

The African Union chief Malawian President Bingu wa Mutharika is meeting with Côte d'Ivoire's presidential rivals today. Mutharika flew into Abidjan on an unannounced visit to hold talks with Alassane Ouattara, and Laurent Gbagbo. Meanwhile, the presidents of Uganda and South Africa are supporting an independent African enquiry into the Ivorian election results.


AU mediator Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga left last week without achieving a breakthough. He was told he was not welcome to return by the Gbagbo government which accused him of being partisan.

“This is a very interesting choice for an envoy considering that the AU still technically has a mediator,” says correspondent Marco Chown Oved. “Mutharika has made statements in the past supporting Ouattara so it’s not clear whether he will be acceptable to Gbagbo’s camp or not.”

Mutharika is expected to make a statement after meeting both candidates

Separately, European Union election observers confirmed Ouattara’s victory in their report, which was published on Tuesday.

A recount is “not at all necessary”, said Christian Preda, the leader of the observation mission. He added that it might have been if the result had been closer, because they had observed some irregularities, but that the 400,000-vote difference meant Ouattara was a clear winner.

On an official visit to South Africa, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni on Tuesday criticised the United Nations’ position on Côte d'Ivoire and called for an independent African enquiry into the registration of voters and the polling and counting processes.

His host, South African President Jacob Zuma agreed to push for an independent continental enquiry.

The UN recognises Ouattara as the winner of the election.

Each country has its own constitution and framework to solve internal problems, Museveni said, describing the UN’s position as “simplistic”.

This contrasts with the position of West African regional bloc Ecowas, which is considering military action to depose Laurent Gbagbo.

Côte d’Ivoire is expected to dominate the agenda when African Union leaders meet in Addis Ababa on 30 and 31 January.

In Paris, the Ivorian ambassador named by Ouattara, took up position in the embassy. French authorities had said they would only recognise an ambassador named by Ouattara.

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