28 March 2007

Peace deal for Cote d'Ivoire?

Color me skeptical, but I'm not quite sure of Cote d'Ivoire's new peace agreement. The main parts of the settlement were agreed in early March, and over the weekend another agreement was signed that would make Guillaume Soro, head of the rebel group Forces Nouvelles (FN), prime minister within five weeks.

While it is satisfying that Ivoiran president Laurent Gbabgo has seemingly fulfilled his promise to unilaterally seek a peace deal, without United Nations or African Union mediation, I'm still not sure of what all has gone on behind the scenes. You see, the negotiator for this current deal was the president of Burkina Faso, Blaise Compaore. What does that matter? Compaore has been implicated in financing (or at least conducting transactions for) and equipping rebel movements under Foday Sankoh and Charles Taylor in Sierra Leone and Liberia, respectively. Thus I just don't really trust his peacemaking overtures.

Furthermore, Cote d'Ivoire is two years overdue for presidential elections, which have served to continue Gbabgo's rule. While the UN Security Council basically installed a powerful prime minister last year, Gbabgo has remained and loves to give reasons for why elections can't occur (ok, so yeah, the country is divided into two parts, but surely something could have been worked out). Both FN and government leaders have also violated a series of peace agreements within the past three years.

So now they're setting up shop together to prepare for these long awaited elections? I think something shady is going on here, but I can't quite put my finger on it quite yet. I guess time will tell.

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