Côte d’Ivoire: African Leaders Fail to Persuade Laurent Gbagbo to Step Down

Laurent Gbagbo - Refuses to Step Down

A delegation of four African leaders, including Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga, and Presidents Ernest Bai Koroma (Sierra Leone), Pedro Pires (Cape Verde) and Alpha Conde (Guinnea) have failed to persuade incumbent president of Côte d’Ivoire, Laurent Gbagbo, to step down.

Gbagbo has refused to relinquish power in the Ivory Coast, despite losing elections in December.

Alassane Ouattara was declared President of Côte d’Ivoire on 3 December 2010, but Gbagbo refused to recognise the election, and claimed he had, in fact, won the vote. While election was close run, 54.1% to 45.9%, the UN have since backed the victory of Mr Ouattara.

The delegation of African leaders met with Mr Gbagbo in order to attempt to persuade the incumbent President to step aside. This effort appears to have failed, prompting questions over what will happen next for the country.

The four leaders are currently reporting to the African Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) group in order to decide what further steps to take.

There are currently IRO 9,000 UN peacekeepers in the Côte d’Ivoire, in an effort to prevent this month-long power struggle from descending into violence.

In This Story: Cote D'Ivoire

Ivory Coast, also known as Côte d’Ivoire, officially the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire, is a country located on the south coast of West Africa. Ivory Coast’s political capital is Yamoussoukro in the center of the country, while its economic capital and largest city is the port city of Abidjan.

It borders Guinea to the northwest, Liberia to the west, Mali to the northwest, Burkina Faso to the northeast, Ghana to the east, and the Gulf of Guinea (Atlantic Ocean) to the south.

The official language of the republic is French, with local indigenous languages also being widely used that include Baoulé, Dioula, Dan, Anyin, and Cebaara Senufo. In total, there are around 78 different languages spoken in Ivory Coast. The country has large populations of adherents of Christianity, Islam and various indigenous religions.

Before its colonization by Europeans, Ivory Coast was home to several states, including Gyaaman, the Kong Empire and Baoulé. The area became a protectorate of France in 1843 and achieved independence in 1960.

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