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Africa
Kenya PM warns of Cote d'Ivoire war
Raila Odinga says civil war may break out unless a "negotiated settlement" is reached.
Last Modified: 07 Jan 2011 22:55 GMT
Odinga criticised Gbagbo for not breaking the blockade around Ouattara's hotel in Abidjan [AFP]

Raila Odinga, the Kenyan prime minister, has said that civil war may break out in Cote d'Ivoire, "unless there is a negotiated settlement".

Speaking to Al Jazeera's David Frost on Friday, Odinga said he was disappointed that incumbent president Laurent Gbagbo broke an earlier promise he had made to lift the blockade on Alassane Ouattara, the man who is internationally recognised as the winner of Cote d'Ivoire's recent election.

"Ouattara and his team are still locked up in the Golf hotel in Abidjan. That of course shows that president Gbagbo does not intend to honour his words," he said.

Odinga visited Cote d'Ivoire on Monday and is working as the African Union representative in the country.

He also told Frost that the country is highly polarised.

"There is the north-south divide then there is the issue of the indigenous Ivoirians vis-a-vis the immigrant population which is more than two thirds the population, and there are the Muslims and Christians so I think this requires some kind of unity,

"We need to have reconciliation in order to unite the country so that the game of exclusion, which has been played for far too long is resolved and the people are fully united. I think that Gbagbo has some fanatical support among his people and unless there is a negotiated settlement there may be civil war in the event that Gbagbo is just driven out of power."

'Amnesty for Gbagbo'

Meanwhile, Ouattara has promised amnesty to Gbagbo if he steps down quickly.

In an interview published on Friday, Ouattara told French newspaper Le Figaro that he would guarantee Laurent Gbagbo's safety. 

"For me, peace has no price. That's why I am willing to declare an amnesty for Gbagbo, as happened in the past for Benin President [Mathieu] Kerekou," said Ouattara.

"But he has to accept rapidly, because he's a person with blood on his hands."

The UN, the African Union, the 15-nation West African regional group ECOWAS and other world powers have recognised Ouattara as the winner of the country's presidential run-off vote.

But Gbagbo has refused for more than a month to step down after a decade in power, sparking a political crisis that has left more than 170 people dead.

The president of Ghana said on Friday his country would not take sides in neighbouring Cote d'Ivoire's power struggle and that force would not solve the problem, underscoring a rift in the region about how to resolve the crisis.

"Ghana is not taking sides, and Ghana will support any government," President John Atta Mills said in a speech on Friday.

"I personally do not think the military option will solve the problem in Cote d'Ivoire."

Mills said military planners told him that Ghana's forces were over-stretched and that in taking the decision not to contribute troops to an ECOWAS intervention force, he considered the safety of Ghanaian expatriates in Cote d'Ivoire.

ECOWAS has threatened to use military force to oust Gbagbo, but it has said doing so would be a last resort and it opened the door to negotiations.

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
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