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African Conflict Prevention Programme

AU at the crossroads – Will the AU meeting finally resolve the Ivorian political standoff?
Institute for Security Studies
11 March 2011
(…) This week, African leaders convened in Addis Ababa for the African Union’s Peace and Security Council meeting on Côte d’Ivoire. The meeting that took place on March 9-10 discussed the proposals for the binding resolutions of the AU, in its attempts to craft a final solution to the post-electoral debacle in the former beacon of stability in West Africa. (…)
(…) The AU went further with two additional and equally important proposals: the initiative to appoint a High Representative to oversee the implementation of the resolutions; and a timeframe of two weeks for parties to work out its modalities.
These resolutions have two major implications for the ongoing crisis in Côte d’Ivoire. The first is that they vindicate the electoral process and its outcomes – as an essential departing point to preserve the will of the majority of Ivoirian people. Secondly, the Panel has certainly taken into consideration the need to preserve the credibility of the AU and that of the Panel itself that were both at stake. (…)
(…) The question now is how to short-circuit Laurent Gbagbo’s grip on power in a way that averts a civil war. Three scenarios emerge from the AU resolutions. The first is a perpetuation of the status quo with all the risks that it entails, while the AU High Representative for the implementation of the political solution continues the dialogue and mediation endeavor. (…)
(…) The Second scenario albeit mildly unlikely is that Laurent Gbagbo will step down having realized that his options to remain in power are exhausted. As the AU Peace and Security Commissioner Ramtane Lamamra told reports, the AU “will not take no for an answer.”  This could be seen as the AU determination to not only uphold the UN-certified electoral result but also to enforce the resolutions of the meetings no matter what.
The third scenario is the outbreak of a civil war that would nullify the guarantees currently been discussed for Laurent Gbagbo’s honourable exit from power. The AU has called on the development partners to uplift the sanctions imposed on Gbagbo and his close allies and has communicated this decision to the UN Security Council and other international actors.”

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