The American lawyer hired by incumbent Ivory Coast president, Laurent Gbagbo to lobby the international community has reigned citing as one of his reasons, Gbagbo’s refusal to receive a phone cal from President Barak Obama.
Lanny Davies, a former Clinton Aide was hired by the Gbagbo faction to lobby for him following a disputed election run-off on November 28, 2010 in which both Gbagbo and opposition leader Allasane Oauttara claimed victory, leading to a political standoff. About 200 people have been reported killed and nearly 20,000 fleeing to neigbouring Liberia for refuge.
A report by the online news source Ivoirenews.net says Davies tendered his resignation letter to Ivory Coast Ambassador in the US Wednesday night.
A copy of the letter was published on the site. Davies said among other things, “As you know, for the last two weeks, I have been working to help resolve the crisis in the Ivory Coast. As I said publicly in my statement on December 20th, my mission was not to say who won or who lost the election or who was right or who was wrong, but rather to help resolve this crisis peacefully, through dialogue, mediation and with leadership and participation of the international.”
He also confirmed reports that Gbagbo refused to accept phone calls from President Obama, who has urged him to step down, and also indicated that he has been unable to reach Gbagbo himslef. He wrote, “Unfortunately, as you know, the decision was made in Abidjan not to allow President Obama’s call to be put through to Mr Gbagbo, despite my repeated objections to that decision. Nor have I been able to reach Mr. Gbagbo directly myself to offer him this advice, despite repeated requests, as recently as the last twenty-four hours. Therefore, without going into further details regarding disagreements between me and representatives of the government, of which you are aware, I have reached the conclusion that I have not been allowed to effectuate the mission that I was expressly asked to do by your government, despite all my best efforts to do so.”
Stating that his decision to resign was final, he however expressed interest in helping to resolve the conflict but not as Gbagbo’s representative, “I will continue to do all I can to help encourage the parties to resolve this matter peacefully, through dialogue and mediation and non-violence, but for the reasons expressed above I will no longer be able to do so as a representative of your government.”
Incumbent Gbagbo has come under intense pressure to quit office and handover power to Ouattara who the international community believes has won the elections. The West African regional grouping ECOWAS has warned Gbagbo that if he fails to heed to advise to exit through peaceful means, it would be left with no option but to use military force to oust him from office. ECOWAS sent a three man delegation of presidents of Benin, Sierra Leone and Cape Verde to persuade Gbagbo to step down, but he is adamant. The group is scheduled to meet him again next week to pursue further negotiations.
By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi