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23.09.2005 General News

Amnesty International (Ghana) criticises Gbagbo

By GNA
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Accra, Sept. 23, GNA - Amnesty International on Friday criticised Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo's stand on negotiations with the rebels in the shaky peace process in that country, describing it as a stab in the face of peace.

"Amnesty International (Ghana), finds as unfortunate and a stab in the face of peace, President Laurent Gbagbo's decision not to negotiate further with the opposition and the rebel New Forces group to solve the Ivorian crises," a statement signed by Mr F.Y. McApreko, Director, said.

"This threatens the much-needed peace in La C=F4te d'Ivoire in particular and the sub-region at large, while frustrating progress and development."

Amnesty International - Ghana, said in raising "very serious concerns" about this, it urges President Gbagbo "to renounce his stance quickly" since one side of a negotiating team does not determine without consensus, when negotiation ends especially on critical issues like this.

"It is most regrettable that while poverty, disease, hunger and in many cases poor governance and leadership have constantly battled Africa into a decimated and pale shadow of itself, civil wars and political tensions continue to have their unlimited devastating toll on poor Africa."

Amnesty International (Ghana) said it was particularly uncomfortable at the state of affairs in La C=F4te d'Ivoire, "which is gradually but steadily precipitating the wielding of dangerous clouds and clout that promise nothing other than chaos", come October 2005. C=F4te d'Ivoire was scheduled to hold elections in October but Amnesty International said there could not be any peaceful, free and fair elections in the current militarised and tension-packed context.

"Amnesty International (Ghana) is deeply concerned that if the leadership of ECOWAS and the African Union would be willing to show any pragmatic concern when the looming political cataclysm in La C=F4te d'Ivoire takes off, then the best time to act is now rather spending financial resources, time and energy over lost lives and property, which it still has time to avert."

It said man-made disasters like the one being currently nurtured in La C=F4te d'Ivoire could be averted now.

"Amnesty International- Ghana is convinced that ECOWAS and the African Union have a key role to play in enabling this."

It reminded the warring factions that they had their obligations under the Pretoria Accord, the Marcoussis Accord, and indeed, all the agreements and obligations to which they had consented.

"We request in particular the government of Ghana, ECOWAS and the African Union to put the necessary pressure on La C=F4te d'Ivoire to show respect for peace and decorum, which has informed the huge financial resources, which has so far been dumped in the search for political stability in La C=F4te d'Ivoire."

It called on President John Agyekum Kufuor to use his personal influence to intervene in this development.

"President Laurent Gbagbo must urgently re-consider his objection to further involvement of ECOWAS in his country's crises. In the same vein, the other factions must re-consider any entrenched positions and give peace a chance."

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