Ivorian rebels say South African mediators ‘discredited’

Friday, September 2, 2005

On Thursday, the Ivorian rebel group Forces Nouvelles responded to the South African mediator’s Wednesday testimony to the UN Security Council by saying that South Africa had become “discredited” by taking the side of Ivorian president Laurent Gbagbo’s government in Abidjan.

“We categorically do not want the South African mediation continuing here in Cote d'Ivoire” said the rebel group in a statement. The Forces Nouvelles spokesman further demanded that "the African Union, and especially AU president Olusegun Obasanjo, take his responsibility and find a new way," calling on regional leader Nigeria to intervene in the crisis.

The statements are the latest in a series of setbacks to Cote d’Ivoire’s beleaguered peace process, which also include the failure of the rebels to meet the July 31st disarmament deadline, and the rejection of October 30 as a feasible date for the national elections.

Special Representative of the Secretary-General to Cote d'Ivoire, Pierre Schori, expressed his support for the continued South African mediation and stated that conducting free and fair elections in Cote d’Ivoire was more important than sticking with the set dates.