Charles Ble Goude, youth minister in the government of Ivory Coast incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo, rejected Burkina Faso President Blaise Compaore as part of a panel tasked with finding a solution to the country’s post-election crisis.
“He is not welcome in Ivory Coast,” Ble Goude told reporters in Yopougon, a pro-Gbagbo neighborhood in Abidjan, the commercial capital. “The problem is not the mediation, but the personality of Blaise Compaore.”
Compaore was among the leaders of South Africa, Tanzania, Mauritania and Chad named by the African Union yesterday to the group. Compaore is seen by Gbagbo’s supporters to be sympathetic to Alassane Ouattara, the internationally recognized winner of a Nov. 28 election. Ouattara hails from the northern part of Ivory Coast that borders Burkina Faso. Gbagbo refuses to cede power, alleging voting fraud in that region.
The panel will be welcome if it comes to the West African country to “look for the truth and assess the situation,” rather than imposing a head of state, said Ble Goude, who also heads the Young Patriots group of pro-Gbagbo supporters. He called for a rally on Feb. 5 in Abidjan.
Raila Odinga, Kenya’s prime minister and the African Union’s appointed mediator, was rejected by Alcide Djedje, Gbagbo’s foreign minister on Jan. 19, who accused Odinga of being partisan.