TITLE=IVORY COAST / REACT (L ONLY)
INTRO: Nine West-African nations are calling for the
new military leaders in Ivory Coast to organize
national elections by next June. Correspondent Scott
Bobb in Abidjan reports the development comes as
leading political parties in Ivory Coast say they will
collaborate with the proposed transitional government.
TEXT: Foreign ministers of ECOWAS, the Economic
Community of West African States, are urging the
military junta in Ivory Coast to move quickly to
revise the constitution and electoral laws in order to
hold free and fair elections within six-months.
The West African ministers condemned the coup that
deposed President Henri Konan Bedie one-week ago. But
at the conclusion of a meeting in Mali, they said they
did not envision intervening militarily in Ivory
Coast, as they have done in Liberia and Sierra Leone.
/// OPT /// The ministers noted that the coup has
received widespread support among Ivorians and they
expressed satisfaction that calm has been restored
quickly. But they called for the new leaders to
respect human rights and release all former officials
still in detention. /// END OPT ///
Meanwhile in Ivory Coast, support continues to build
for the transitional government that was proposed
earlier this week by the country's new leader, General
Leaders of the Democratic Party, which had governed
since independence, said they would participate in any
act by the military junta that would re-establish
constitutional democracy. Former president Bedie, who
heads the party, two-days ago called for members to
avoid collaborating with the new military leaders.
But he has reversed himself and from his base in Togo
urged members to consider participating in the
transitional government. A close associate said he
would be a candidate in the next presidential
The country's third leading opposition party, the
Labor Party, also announced it was prepared to
participate in the transitional government.
The Popular Front party, led by Laurent Gbagbo,
announced its support for the transitional government
two-days ago. And the leader of the Democratic Rally
party, former Prime Minister Alassane Ouattara, says
he will support any transition to democracy.
/// OUATTARA ACT ///
My wish is to help my country go through the
transition and obtain the best in terms of
democracy and development.
/// END ACT ///
Mr. Ouattara returned to Ivory Coast late Wednesday
from three-months of self-imposed exile. He fled the
country last September after an Ivorian court ordered
his arrest for falsifying documents to support his
Ivorian nationality. That order has been dropped.
The Bedie government had stripped Mr. Ouattara of his
citizenship earlier this year in a move that was
widely seen as aimed at preventing him from running in
presidential elections due next year. The moves
against Mr. Ouattara were one of the reasons for the
military coup last Thursday.
/// REST OPT ///
Meanwhile, General Guei continues his meetings with
leaders of Ivorian civil society by talking to trade
union leaders (Thursday).
/// GUEI ACT - IN FRENCH - FADE UNDER ///
General Guei told the labor leaders Ivory Coast is a
nation that does not hold grudges, and urged them to
forgive past injustices. The Bedie government's
heavy-handed response to several labor protests over
falling living standards was another reason cited for
the military coup.
General Guei has also met and received expressions of
support from political and religious leaders. He has
asked political parties to present candidates for the
transitional government, which he says he wants to
form by next week. (SIGNED)
30-Dec-1999 12:44 PM EDT (30-Dec-1999 1744 UTC)
Source: Voice of America
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