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Saturday, January 22, 2011

Gabby: Mills' vindication letter is "desperate propaganda" piece

Executive Director of the Danquah Institute, Gabby Asare Otchere Darko
The Executive Director of Danquah Institute, Gabby Asare Otchere Darko, is asking President John Mills to tell Ghanaians whether or not he would pullout Ghanaian peacekeepers in Cote d’Ivoire should war break out there.

The president on January 7 told journalists that Ghana would be unable to commit troops to support a military intervention in the Ivorian crisis because the nation was overstretched. He also said he did not think a military intervention would secure a solution to the Ivorian stand-off, engendered by the refusal of incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo to step down after polls his opponent, Allasane Ouattara was widely thought to have won.

According to President Mills, Ghana has 500 troops in Cote d’Ivoire as part of a UN force protecting the UN-backed Alansane Ouatarra.

President Mills’ statement attracted criticisms from especially members of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) who said he had sought to undermine the Economic Community of African States (ECOWAS) – which unanimously decided to opt for a military intervention should mediation fail in resolving the impasse.

On Metro TV’s Good Morning Ghana programme Tuesday, Gabby Otchere Darko who is also a staunch member of the NPP was commenting on contents of a letter published by the two state dailies of Daily Graphic and The Ghanaian Times asserting that the President’s position has been vindicated.

According to the letter, a report sent by The Head Of Ghana’s Permanent Mission to The United Nations for the attention of the Minister of Foreign Affairs indicates that the Africa Group of Ambassadors at the UN has described the military option to the crisis in Cote d'Ivoire as a ‘no option’.

But Gabby says he finds it “extremely doubtful” that what is stated in the letter is the position of the African Group within the UN Security Council. He said information available to him indicates that at least the stance as portrayed in the purported letter is not the position of Nigeria and that the letter “appears to be a very desperate propaganda work to me and I think it will end up even digging deeper the trench that already Ghana is in, in terms of its isolated position on the collective position of ECOWAS.”

Mr Otchere Darko further explained that whatever position taken by the African Group of Ambassadors represents the exact position of their countries, therefore he wondered why President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria who is also chairman of the ECOWAS said to President Raila Odinga of Kenya on Sunday that “We [ECOWAS] have not changed the position we took during our last summit” while his country’s representative at the AU supports a ‘no military option’ as reported by the said letter.

For Gabby, ECOWAS has always been consistent in its position, again quoting President Jonathan as saying “the use of force will depend on the outcome of a series of meetings to be held with stakeholders of Cote d’Ivoire.

“That is why I think the President’s unsolicited view on the use of troops was very unfortunate, undiplomatic and actually undermining the collective position of West Africa,” he said.

He added: “I think this letter that has been put on the front page of the Graphic and the Times would end up causing Ghana more embarrassment than actually vindicating the President.”

According to Gabby, “there are about 26 elections in Africa this year alone and among this 19 is for a change of government”, therefore, “it is important that a clear message is sent across [using the Ivory Coast situation].”

“I want the President to answer one question, respectfully, if you don’t mind: already he says we have 500 troops in Cote d’Ivoire … now are we saying that if war were to break in Cote d’Ivoire we will pull those troops out?”

[Read below contents of the letter by The Head Of Ghana’s Permanent Mission to The United Nations for the attention of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, which informed the publications.]

Story by Dorcas Efe Mensah/myjoyonline.com/Ghana

Myjoyonline Ghana News Photos |
President J.E.A. Mills during the media encounter he said he believed armed intervention in Cote D'Ivoire wouldn't bring a solution.
The monthly consultation meeting of the Africa Group of Ambassadors at the United Nations was convened on Thursday 13th January 2011 at the behest of the African Members and the Security Council i.e. Gabon, Nigeria, and South Africa.

2. This was to enable the latter countries brief the Group on the latest African position adopted at the Security Council on Cote d'Ivoire, and what would appear to be an emerging consensus on the Council.

3. The said position is summarized as follows:
  • the military option is "no option"
  • the evolving refugee situation is a matter of concern
  • the victory of Mr. Alhassane Ouattara as President-elect of Cote d’Ivoire should be respected

4. All the African Ambassadors at the meeting who elected to comment on the above stated 6-point position, took turns to commend the African Members of the Security Council for the diligent and pragmatic position taken.

5. In the particular case of Burkina Faso, the Ambassador intimated, in apparent reference to point (4) above, that the mandate of President Compaore of Burkina Faso, as ECOWAS mediator in the Cote d’Ivoire crisis, ended with the holding of the recent elections in that country

6. Still on Cote d'Ivoire, Information reaching this Mission is that ECOWAS had planned to field two Missions to some major capitals in North America and Europe i.e. to New York and Washington comprising the Presidents of Sierra Leone and Mali, and on the other hand, to Moscow, Beijing and New Delhi led by the President of the ECOWAS Commission.

7. While it is not clear whether the North American leg of the Mission would come on, our information is that regarding the Asian segment, only India appears to have responded positively to the planned ECOWAS Mission to Asia and Moscow. The latest development appears to be that President Compaore of Burkina Faso, the Permanent Secretary of the Nigerian Foreign Ministry, and the President of the ECOWAS Commission, are embarking on a Mission to London and Paris this week. However, since London is receiving the delegation only at the ministerial level, it is likely that; President Compaore will only travel to Paris.

8. Furthermore, indications are that the ECOWAS Chiefs of Staff will be meeting this week in Bamako, Mali on the Cote d’Ivoire situation.

9. Ghana's long espoused position disrecommending the military option in Cote d’Ivoire appears to have been vindicated although the solution to the ongoing crisis seems to be highly elusive.

10. The United Nations says it is looking up to ECOWAS and the African Union to help find an answer to the current stalemate. The upcoming AU Summit at the end of January 2011 should therefore be critical in the on going efforts to help bring closure to the current electoral crisis in Cote d’Ivoire.

11. The Mission will continue to monitor the situation and report accordingly.


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