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Kenya's Odinga leaves Ivory Coast after impasse in talks

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-01-19

Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga (left) flew back to Nairobi Wednesday after failing to broker a deal between Ivory Coast's rival presidents, Laurent Gbagbo and Alassane Ouattara (right).

AFP - African Union envoy Raila Odinga left Abidjan early Wednesday saying he had failed to achieve a breakthrough in Ivory Coast's political crisis.

Odinga, the Kenyan prime minister, said strongman Laurent Gbagbo had twice broken his promise to lift an armed blockade on the Abidjan hotel serving as the temporary

headquarters of his rival Alassane Ouattara.

"Despite extensive discussions on Monday with Mr Laurent Gbagbo and president elect Ouattara that went very late into the night, I regret to announce that the breakthrough that was needed did not materialise," he told a press conference before flying to Ghana.

"One of the principal goals of my mission was to convince Mr Gbagbo that he needed to put his presidency on the agenda of the discussions," Odinga said.

"In addition it was imperative that the blockade of the Golf Hotel be lifted. Mr Gbagbo gave me an assurance that this blocklade would be lifted yesterday but he broke that promise for the second time in two weeks."

Ouattara is recognised as winner of the November 28 presidential election by the Ivory Coast's voting authority and the international community.

Odinga was to fly directly to Accra on Wednesday after having said Monday he would go on for consultations in Ghana, Angola and Burkina Faso.

Gbagbo has said before that he is willing to talk with his rival but he has refused all offers to give up the presidency, including exile and immunity from prosecution for crimes against humanity.

The United Nations Security Council delayed until Wednesday a vote to send 2,000 extra troops into Ivory Coast after Russia raised objections, diplomats said.

The number is the maximum requested by UN commanders fearing a growing showdown with Gbagbo, who has demanded several times that UN forces leave. The new deployment would take the UN force up to about 11,500 troops.
 

Date created : 2011-01-19

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