West African envoys to meet Obama, Ban on Ivory Coast

AFP , Tuesday 25 Jan 2011

West African envoys plan to meet US president Obama as the post-elections Ivorian political crisis continues

Envoys from a West African bloc that has threatened to use force to oust Ivory Coast's Laurent Gbagbo plan to meet US President Barack Obama this week, Nigeria's foreign minister said Tuesday.

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) envoys are also expected to hold talks with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Odein Ajumogobia said.

Asked about the mission, Ajumogobia, who is part of the delegation, confirmed local media reports on the planned meetings.

"True," he said in a brief message, but declined to give further details, saying he was boarding a flight to the United States.

Sierra Leone President Ernest Koroma is leading the team, according to Nigerian media. ECOWAS commission president James Victor Gbeho was also part of the team, the reports said.

The meeting with Obama is expected to take place Wednesday, while the envoys are to meet Ban on Thursday.

On Monday, Ajumogobia called on the UN Security Council to authorise force in Ivory Coast as West African nations seek to further pressure Gbagbo to quit power.

He said ECOWAS, a 15-nation bloc, "requires unequivocal international support through an appropriate United Nations Security Council resolution to sanction the use of force."

Gbagbo has defied global calls for him to quit power in favour of Alassane Ouattara, the internationally recognised winner of November elections.

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