The theme at this week's annual African Union summit is 'shared values,' but it's clear there is little shared vision for how to handle the increasingly violent post-election crisis in Ivory Coast.
Although the West African regional body, ECOWAS, has threatened to use force to remove incumbent President Laurent Gbabgo, nobody wants to ignite a second civil war in Ivory Coast.
Tensions are escalating in Ivory Coast, where President Laurent Gbagbo refuses to yield power to President-elect Alassane Ouattara. The international community's coordinated economic pressures hold the most hope for peacefully ousting Mr. Gbagbo and prevent mounting violence. Where diplomatic efforts have fallen short, cutting off Gbagbo's funds may turn his allies against him.
So far, international pressure has failed to convince incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo to step down in Ivory Coast after he lost the Nov. 28 election by 8 percentage points.
Youths raise their hands in a show of support for Laurent Gbagbo at a rally led by Gbagbo minister and youth leader Charles Ble Goude, in the Koumassi neighborhood of Abidjan, Ivory Coast. While the United Nations and other world powers recognize rival Alassane Ouattara as the winner of November presidential elections, Gbagbo has refused to step down for more than a month after the presidential runoff vote. The 15-nation regional bloc ECOWAS has threatened to remove the incumbent leader if ongoing negotiations fail.
Despite threats from regional bloc ECOWAS that it would soon use force in Ivory Coast, leaders of the African Union said they will give mediation efforts more time.
Diplomatic options in Ivory Coast are running out after a group of African leaders failed to convince the incumbent president to step down and regional forces said they were beginning to discuss military strategies.
The year 2011 will include some big developments in Africa to look out for – Sudan's referendum and the continuing strife in Ivory Coast, among others.
The Obama administration's efforts to get incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo to step down after a disputed Nov. 28 poll reflects an ossified view of African politics, writes guest blogger G. Pascal Zachary.
Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga has been named by the African Union to mediate Ivory Coast's political crisis and avert another civil war.