Talks not sanctions best for Ivory Coast: African Union

ALGIERS (BestGrowthStock) – The African Union does not favor sanctions for now over a disputed presidential election in Ivory coast and will instead stick to quiet diplomacy, the Union’s top security official said on Sunday.

A row over who won an election on November 28 has left Ivory Coast, the world’s top cocoa producer, in a state of paralysis with the president and his rival running parallel administrations, and many people fear an outbreak of violence.

Asked in an interview with Reuters if sanctions would be imposed, Ramtane Lamamra, the African Union’s Peace and Security Commissioner, said: “Our approach is quiet and discreet diplomacy. Noise doesn’t help.”

World leaders and regional bodies have recognized opposition challenger Alassane Ouattara as winner of the election on the basis of results from the election commission, which were backed by the local U.N. mission charged with certifying the vote.

But the Constitutional Council, Ivory Coast’s highest legal authority, said President Laurent Gbagbo won the vote, accepting his allegations of widescale fraud by the rebels.

Gbagbo has control of the presidential palace and government buildings while Ouattara’s parallel administration is run out of an Abidjan hotel guarded by U.N. peacekeepers.

“We are still working on Ivory Coast to reach a democratic and peaceful solution,” Lamamra said on the sidelines of a meeting of the African Union’s “Committee of the Wise,” which mediates in crises on the continent.

“The AU recognizes the victory of Ouattara and has suspended Ivory Coast from the Union until it goes back to legitimacy,” he said in the Algerian capital. The AU suspended Ivory Coast on Thursday until Gbagbo hands over power to Ouattara.

A senior U.S. official said last week that Washington was ready to impose sanctions on Gbagbo and his family if he failed to accept defeat in the election.

The International Monetary Fund has said it will only work with a government recognized by the United Nations, and the World Bank and African Development Bank have said they will review their Ivory Coast lending programs.

Talks not sanctions best for Ivory Coast: African Union