Renegade Leader Stays Put In Ivory Coast
RENEE MONTAGNE, Host:
And, Ofeibea, the Western African leaders seem to be a fix. Twice they've given President Gbagbo his marching orders. Twice he's refused to go.
OFEIBEA QUIST: If there is any sort of military intervention in Ivory Coast it could spark not only the civil war again but a regional conflict. So African leaders are in a difficult position, because many of them have their nationals living either as seculars or as expatriates in Ivory Coast. So there might be recrimination. There might be reprisals against them. Everybody is thinking very quickly.
MONTAGNE: Well, right. So this ultimatum gets closer that is, OK, you said armed intervention, here we are. How likely is it actually to happen?
QUIST: But now that Laurent Gbagbo has effectively said I am not going. I am the elected leader. And West African presidents have said, well, if you don't go we'll be forced to push you. This could drag out for weeks and weeks and months and months.
MONTAGNE: Well, if you had to say there would be or wouldn't be, what would be your thought?
QUIST: I think I'd have to hedge my bets, Renee, and say there may be, but it would be very reluctant. West Africa doesn't need a war at the moment. And the countries that would be likely to contribute troops - Nigeria, the biggest regional power, Senegal and others have other priorities on their plate. Nigeria has its own security problems and key elections coming now. Nobody wants to commit troops and get burdened with what could be urban warfare in a neighboring country.
MONTAGNE: The challenger Alassane Ouattara was declared the winner by Ivory Coast electoral commission. Also the international community supports that call. Where does this impasse leave him and his supporters?
QUIST: MONTAGNE; Ofeibea, thanks very much.
QUIST: Always a pleasure.
MONTAGNE: This is NPR News.
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