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KAIPTC Brief 032011

KAIPTC Brief 032011

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Published by Susan Baker Megy

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Published by: Susan Baker Megy on Apr 05, 2011
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Promoting peace and stability in La Côte d’Ivoire: negotiating the cost ofinternational inaction and the need for decisive actionKwesi Aning & Samuel Atuobi
Violence continues after the 28 November 2010Presidential run-off elections after which thewinner, opposition leader Alassane Ouattara,has been prevented from taking office by theincumbent president, Laurent Gbagbo. For thepast four months, international efforts, largelyby the Economic Community of West AfricaStates (ECOWAS), the African Union (AU) andthe United Nations (UN), have failed topersuade Gbagbo to cede power to his rivalOuattara. Recent efforts by the African Union(AU) has only led to a decision by the AU’s Peaceand Security Council (PSC) to meet ‘in twoweeks’ to start negotiations between the twoIvorian political rivals ‘to develop modalities forthe implementation of the proposals’ by a panelof five African presidents.
Details of theproposals made by the panel of five are yet to bemade public, though the AU at a meeting in AddisAbaba, Ethiopia formally recognised Ouattara asPresident of La Côte d’Ivoire.
. France 24, ‘Gbagbo hints ready for talks with bitter rival’ athttp://www.france24.com/en/20110318-gbagbo-hints-ready-talks-ouattara-ivory-coast-crisis. Access 21 March 2011.
POLICY BRIEF 5/March 2011
There is the need for clear and robust international leadership in the Ivorian situation that provides the opportunity for mobilizing international support for the peaceful resolution of the conflict;
The Ivorian conflict should be given the same degree of urgency by the UN as other conflictselsewhere;
The international community needs to act swiftly and decisively to prevent further violenceand protect civilians ;
The AU in particular should intensify its mediation efforts to reduce tension in La Côted’Ivoire;
There is the need to increase the strength of UNOCI to enable it embark on enforcement action to stop the escalating violence; and
Enforcement action to protect civilian population should take place alongside diplomaticmeans to find a more permanent solution to the Ivorian conflict.
POLICY BRIEF 5/January 2011 Page 1
While the AU is bidding time to act, there is agrowing humanitarian crisis that continues todefine the post-election stand-off. Recently, theUN estimates that over 400,000 people are onthe move: 200,000 displaced from Abidjanalone, and 90,000 having already crossed intoLiberia and Guinea.
5,000 have since mid-March crossed into Ghana. The death toll oncivilians caught in-between the fighting forcesalso continues to increase on a daily basis. So farthe UN reports that about 425 people have beenkilled.
 In spite of the growing humanitarian situationin La Côte d’Ivoire, the conflict is graduallyfalling into oblivion. The internationalcommunity now appears too be busy with more‘urgent’ issues. On 17 March 2011 the UnitedNations Security Council (UNSC) took a decisiveaction to protect civilians in Libya by imposing ano-fly zone over the country.
Following that decision, international military action has begunin Libya to stop Colonel Muammar Gaddafi frommassacring his own people.
At the same time25 civilians were reported to have been killed inLa Côte d’Ivoire, yet responses from theinternational community to the two situationshave been remarkably different.
When it relates to the crisis in La Côte d’Ivoire, it appears that the initial enthusiasm by theinternational community to resolve thedeadlock over the presidency of the country hasdied down and given way to indecision and
. Ibid.
. BBC News, ‘Ivory Coast: Laurent Gbagbo supports “join”army’ athttp://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-12804728.Accessed 21 March 2011.
. See UN Security Council Resolution 1973 (SC 10200) athttp://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2011/sc10200.doc.htm.Access 19 March 2011.
. BBC News, ‘Missile destroy Gaddafi building’, athttp://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-12801812.Accessed 21 March 2011.
. France24, ‘Shell kill 25 in Abidjan market’, athttp://www.france24.com/en/20110317-deadly-shell-strikes-busy-abidjan-market-place-ivory-coast. Accessed 18 March2011.
prevarication about implementing decisions onthe way forward. More worryingly is the fact that there is no clear leadership on the situation fromthe side of the international community (i.e UN,AU and ECOWAS). This lack of clear leadershiphas resulted in confused signals to all parties tothe conflict.Admittedly, it is clear that the internationalcommunity has lost control over the Ivoriansituation. Initial attempts at mediation have bornlittle or no fruit. For the past one month, therehave been constant reports of fighting betweenforces loyal to President (or Ex-President)Gbagbo and the ‘Forces Nouvelles’, a rebel groupthat supports President Ouattara (based onrecognition by the international community).Another rebel group is reported to have sprungup and it operating in Abidjan. The clashesbetween forces loyal to both Gbagbo andOuattara have resulted in increase in civiliansuffering.In our first policy brief on the situation in La Côted’Ivoire in January 2011, we argued against military intervention and a called for anegotiated third party settlement of the crisis.
 Given that all endeavours at a negotiatedsettlement have been characterised byentrenched positions by all parties to theconflict, and the fact that fighting has escalated,in this second policy brief on the situation in LaCôte d’Ivoire we are calling for enforcement action led by the United Nations Operations in LaCôte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) to stop the fighting,protect civilians and restore stability to thetroubled country. We argue that given the extent to which the situation has degenerated, it is onlya UN force with a strong enforcement mandate,action and capability that can save the situationand protect hapless civilians who are at the
. See Aning, Kwesi and Atuobi, Samuel, ‘Challenges of theCote d’Ivoire crisis for West Africa: exploring options for anegotiated settlement’,
KAIPTC Policy Brief,
4/January 2011.
POLICY BRIEF 5/January 2011 Page 2
Promoting peace and stability in La Côte d’Ivoire
mercy of the warring factions. It is, however,important to note that our main argument inthe paper is without prejudice to diplomaticmeasures by the international community toresolve the Ivorian crisis. This is because werecognise that, eventually, enforcement actionsupported by diplomatic efforts will achievegreater results.
The failure and cost of international inaction
What can be learned from the Ivorian crisis isthe apparent failure of the Ivorian state led byGbagbo to fulfill its responsibility to protect civilian populations. Though the responsibilityto protect principle emphasises prevention,from the 2005 World Summit Outcomedocument, its signatory states also acceded tothe principle and responsibility to take action tosave lives should other preventive measuresfail. In March 2011 alone, the UN SecurityCouncil has stated its preparedness to imposemeasures, including targeted sanction, against those who commit violations against humanrights and international humanitarian law.Again, given the number of civilians who havebeen killed, it can be said that the internationalcommunity has also reneged on itsresponsibility to protect Ivorian civilians thusfar. We recognise that the efforts by UNOCIpersonnel to do their best under thecircumstance are recommendable. Howevermore needs to be done.Broadly speaking, two factors have contributedto the worsening situation in La Côte d’Ivoire inwhich four months of diplomatic efforts haveproduced little result. First, while from thebeginning there was consensus over who hadwon the elections, there was no clarity about specific actions that needed to be taken toensure that the winner of the election accededto power. Several options were explored tonegotiate this difficulty. These options rangedfrom verbal persuasion and assurances(through diplomatic means) for Gbagbo to stepdown, the imposition of targeted sanctions,proposals for negotiations between the twoparties (this is the position that the AU appearsto have taken in recent times), to the use of military force to remove Gbagbo (an optionproposed by ECOWAS). Given the several optionsand the lack of consensus on the course of actionto be taken, valuable time has been wasted. Thesecond factor is the frustrating lack of strong anddecisive leadership among international actorson the situation. While initial leadership clearlyrested on the shoulders of the regional group,ECOWAS (whose backyard, the crisis is takingplace), there appears to have been a shift towards an AU leadership. But in this situation,the AU can only succeed with the strong backingof ECOWAS. The UN on its part, through theSecretary General, has issued strong statementscondemning the deteriorating situation. But thishas remained at the level of words and rhetoricand very little concerted action to back thewords. The UN appears to have left theleadership of the situation to African institutions(AU and ECOWAS).
The need for enforcement action by the UN
UN leadership in Libya has demonstrated that when it wants to act, it can act decisively. Giventhe fact that things have come to a head in LaCôte d’Ivoire, and there is now the need foraction (beyond words) to protect and savepopulations who are being killed or forced tofree their homes. At this stage of the conflict inwhich fighting is intensifying, we argue in favourof stronger enforcement actions (and capability)by UNOCI. The need for enforcement action isnecessary for several reasons. First there is theneed for UNOCI to acquire adequate capability tostop the fighting currently going on in La Côted’Ivoire. With the current peacekeeping force of 9,000, it will difficult for UNOCI to stop thewarring factions from further fighting. The UNrecognises the need to boost the strength of its
POLICY BRIEF 5/January 2011 Page 3
Promoting peace and stability in La Côte d’Ivoire

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