AU panel finish Côte d'Ivoire fact-finding visit
The African Union panel of 15 experts left Côte d'Ivoire on Thursday morning after a four day fact-finding mission. They were preparing the ground for the five African presidents appointed by the union to resolve the conflict between the incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo and his opponent Alassane Ouattara.
A team of 15 African Union experts led by the peace and security commissioner Ramtane Lamamra met with the electoral commission, the constitutional council, national election observers and civil society groups this week.
They topped it off with visits to Gbagbo and his rival Ouattara last night.
The mission was discreet because it was simply a fact-finding mission to lay the groundwork for an eventual visit by the five presidents later in the month.
The panel has until the end of February to table their recommendations, which are supposed to be binding on both sides.
The presidential power-struggle in Côte d'Ivoire is in its third month and the United Nations says that 296 people have already died in post-electoral violence.
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