>AU mediator makes progress in Côte d’Ivoire


Cote d’Ivoire’s Laurent Gbagbo
shakes hands with
Kenya’s PM Raila Odinga

The African Union’s mediator in Côte d’Ivoire’s political crisis said Monday that progress had been made with out-going president Laurent Gbagbo and that negotiations were expected to continue Tuesday.

Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga was speaking after talks at the presidential palace, where he tried to orchestrate a peaceful end to the play-off between Gbagbo and Alassane Ouattara, the internationally recognised winner of November’s vote.

“We have raised issues which we raised last time when we were here and we have made some progress in these discussions,” Odinga said giving no further details.

Odinga also had “very fruitful discussions” with president Ouattara and “subject to certain conditions being met, there may be some discussions further tomorrow”, he said.

The mediator’s statement came as the UN Security Council prepared to vote later Tuesday to send 2,000 extra troops to Côte d’Ivoire to coax Gbagbo to step down.

Gbagbo has demanded that UN forces leave Côte d’Ivoire, but the Security Council resolution would send another 2,000 reinforcements until 30 June.

That will bring the UN force, UNOCI, up to about 11,500 troops, including other reinforcements sent before the presidential election.

Meanwhile, Ecowas defence chiefs are to meet in the Malian capital Bamako from Wednesday for talks on how to deal with the country’s crisis.

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