The U.N. General Assembly recognises Ouattara as the legitimate winner of the election. Yesterday, December 23, the assembly apparently voted unanimously adding to the international pressure against the incumbent to step aside and let the electoral process take its course. This follows after the African Union and the Economic Community of West African States supported him as the rightful winner of Nov. 28 elections.
Adding to the fragility of Gbagbo’s stand-off, the West African regional central bank has cut his access to funds which will make it difficult if not impossible for him to continue to pay the wages of the soldiers who back him. The Central Bank of West African States, or BCEAO, has supposedly given control over state reserves to Alassane Ouattara whom the bank acknowledges as Ivory Coast’s president.
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) will be holding an emergency meeting today, Friday, December 23. Part of those discussions will be tabling the option to send to the Ivory Coast their multilateral armed force ECOMOG (Economic Community of West African States Monitoring Group). This force is mostly made up of Nigerian forces with support from other ECOWAS members — Ghana, Guinea, Sierra Leone, The Gambia, Liberia, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, and others.
It has been reported that since the beginning of the crisis 173 have been killed. As well as clashes between the rival sides in this political fight for the presidency, there have been accusations of masked groups from the Gbagbo camp hauling people away in the night. Gbagbo has demanded the U.N. Peacekeepers leave the country and is refusing to let human-rights monitors probe any reports of wrong doing.
Could this turmoil spill over into the international markets? The Ivory Coast produces 40% of the world’s raw cocoa and without cocoa, there is no chocolate. The BBC reported that the international price of cocoa has risen about 12.5% since early November as a direct consequence of the problems in Ivory Coast. At the moment however markets for cocoa commodities are remaining somewhat stable however all eyes are on the Ivory Coast to see if the squabble over the presidency turns into civil war.
to read more from William Belle.
Wikipedia: Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS)
Wikipedia: Economic Community of West African States Monitoring Group (ECOMOG)