ECOWAS defends France’s role in Gbagbo’s arrest; Coalition Against Foreign Intervention in Africa protests

Apr 11, 2011

President of ECOWAS Commission, Ambassador Victor Gbeho, has cleared France of any wrongdoing in the capture of embattled Former President of Ivory Coast, Laurent Gbagbo.

Reports remain unclear over who actually captured Mr. Gbagbo.

Earlier reports in sections of the media had indicated that French Special Forces captured the Former Leader and handed him over to pro Ouattara forces.

But France has denied the reports. Mr. Gbagbo is currently being held with his family under UN guards at the Golf Hotel, which is housing his political rival, Alassane Ouattara.

Mr. Gbagbo surrendered after a military assault on his residence in Abidjan. He had provoked a crisis by refusing to cede power, insisting he had won November’s presidential election.

The Socialist Forum of Ghana has criticized France’s role in the capture describing it as illegal and a breach of international law.

But the President of the ECOWAS Commission Ambassador Gbeho told Citi News accusing France is too early since the captors are not known.

“One has to be careful about which version one supports because there are many stories as to who actually captured Laurent Gbagbo. Whatever it is, there is a covenant between ECOWAS and the African Union with President Ouattara that at any time that we reach a point like this, Gbagbo will be treated with dignity that a former Head of State deserves”.

“As to the legality of French presence and action, I am firmly of the belief that they had the fiat of the UN Security Council to be in Cote d’ Ivoire. And the action against Laurent Gbagbo’s Forces in was also duly authorized by the Security Council so I don’t believe that they acted ultra vires” he stated.

But Security Analyst, Dr. Kwesi Ennin disagrees with Ambassador Gbeho. He told Citi News France did not have the authorization to act in that manner.

“France’s support for Ouattara is not for Ouattara. France wants a poodle that will ensure that they get contracts where they will not be subjected to the rules of contracting which are things that Gbagbo changed. They want to buy things cheap and kick out the Chinese who are playing a major role in the Ivorian economy. The net result of what will happen is that, by the time Mr. Ouattara leaves office either through another war or an election, certainly Ivory Coast will be in a thirdly world shape” he said.

“The Resolution 1975 that strengthened the UN forces in La Cote d’ Ivoire did not authorize France Forces to do what they have done. I think Ambassador Gbeho has gotten it wrong and it is with this attitude that we have seen an ECOWAS that is leaderless and has failed in protecting West African interests” he noted.

In a related development, a group calling itself Coalition Against Foreign Intervention in Africa, will demonstrate against happenings in Ivory Coast and Libya.

Organizers have called on all progressive forces and African patriots to join the march which takes place in Accra.

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