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Burkina Faso president holds crisis talks with Ivorian leaders

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-02-22

A little over a week after Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo (right) scrapped the country’s government and election commission, Burkino Faso's President Blaise Compaore (left), a regional mediator, arrived in Abidjan Monday for crisis talks.

AFP - The mediator in Ivory Coast's political crisis, Burkino Faso's President Blaise Compaore, arrived Monday in Abidjan for talks with government and opposition leaders to break a political stalemate.
   
Compaore was welcomed at the airport by President Laurent Gbabgbo and Prime Minister Guillaume Soro, whom he was later scheduled to meet with one after the other.
   
Compaore was then due to meet opposition leaders Henri Konan Bedie and Alassane Ouattara, along with diplomats and the head of the UN mission in Ivory Coast (ONUCI), Young-jin Choi, according to a source close to the mediation.
   
The turmoil has cast fresh doubt on the west African nation's ability to hold a presidential election, which had been scheduled for March and which has already been postponed six times since Gbagbo's mandate ran out in 2005.
   
The Burkinabe leader's visit follows fruitless talks in Ouagadougou on Sunday with the two opposition leaders, who are wary of a new government that Soro is trying to form.
   
Gbagbo plunged the divided west African country back into crisis on February 12 when he dissolved both Soro's national unity government and the Independent Electoral Commission, accusing the latter of "fraud" on new voters' rolls.
   
Since then, Soro has been trying to form a new government, but ex-president Bedie and former prime minister Ouattara have raised objections and they went on Sunday to meet with Compaore in Burkina Faso.
   
After that visit, Compaore said that urgent talks between the opposition and Soro and Gbagbo would take place in the coming days, adding that the aim would be "to get to the bottom of this question of the electoral process."
   
But while Compaore expressed the hope that all political parties would be represented in the government, Bedie said this was "not being envisaged for the moment."
   
The opposition has opposed the formation of a new government until the electoral commission has been reinstated. More recently they have also called on Gbagbo to resign.
   
Violent protests have taken place across Ivory Coast since Gbagbo's shock dual dissolutions, which came after investigators said they had found evidence of fraud in the electoral roll being compiled for the poll.
   
At least five people have been killed and nine injured in clashes between demonstrators and security forces.
   
The vote is designed to unify a nation split between the south and the FN-controlled north since an unsuccessful attempt to oust Gbagbo in 2002.

Date created : 2010-02-22

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