A plan by West African leaders for a military intervention in Ivory Coast’s political conflict is not likely to bring peace to the country, said John Atta Mills, president of neighboring Ghana.
Ghana, which has about 1 million citizens living in Ivory Coast, supports the regional leaders’ recognition of the Nov. 28 election victory of Alassane Ouattara, though it will not contribute troops to a military mission, Mills told reporters in Accra today. While the United Nations, the U.S. and African leaders recognize Ouattara, 69, as the winner, incumbent Laurent Gbagbo, 65, refuses to cede power, claiming voting fraud in parts of the north.
“I do not think this military option is going to bring peace in Cote d’Ivoire,” he said. “I don’t want to be saddled with problems we cannot solve. We have our own internal problems.”
West African regional leaders said on Dec. 24 Gbagbo should step down peacefully, or “legitimate force” would be used to oust him.
Ghana and Ivory Coast share a border of 668 kilometers (415 miles) and are the world’s top two cocoa producers. They also share a maritime border that has seen a rise in crude exploration since the discovery of the Jubilee oil field in 2007 in Ghanaian waters. Production at the field began Dec. 15.
As many as 210 people have been killed in clashes over the six-week-long impasse in Ivory Coast, according to the UN.