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SOS IVORY COAST

by : PEACEINAFRICA
Monday April 11, 2011 - 10:08

INHOFE FACT CHECK ON FRENCH EMBASSY “FACT SHEET”
from the French Ambassador, dated April 6, 2011

April 7, 2011

French say:
Fact Sheet on Côte d’Ivoire(April 6, 2011)“After many delays, including on the part of then-President Laurent Gbagbo, a presidential election was held in Côte d’Ivoire last fall. Since then, its results have been certified by the local monitoring mission and acknowledged by the international community, including the United States, the European Union (EU), the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS), and the African Union (AU).”

Inhofe responds:
In fact the Independent Electoral Commission did not fulfill its constitutional mandate to announce the final provisional vote tallies within three days. It announced them almost 16 hours after it was constitutionally mandated to report them to the Constitutional Council. And it is my understanding, that it is the Constitutional Council of Cote d’Ivoire and not the Electoral Commission which certifies and declares the winner of presidential elections. It seems that this election was not carried out in accordance with the constitution of Cote d’Ivoire. In addition, there is evidence of massive electoral fraud in the rebel held north. I submitted this evidence in two letters to Secretary Clinton and am awaiting a response to these specific allegations. The evidence submitted to Secretary Clinton includes tallies of precincts where, in the first round of voting, President Laurent Gbagbo received multiple thousands of votes, but in the second round he received zero votes. I also submitted an electoral document showing official regional electoral returns, where it shows Ouattara receiving a total 149,598 from one of five northern regions. But when the total is officially reported in the “total vote” column, Ouattara receives 244,471; a difference of 94,873 votes. From all the evidence I now have gathered, I am convinced that it is mathematically impossible for President Gbagbo to have lost the election by several hundred thousand votes. And if a similar amount of fraud exists in the other four regions of the rebel-held north, Gbagbo is actually the winner of the presidential election.

French say:
“Since the results, former President Laurent Gbagbo has not only refused to acknowledge the results, and listen to the will of the people of Côte d’Ivoire, but actually dismissed several initiatives, including by the AU, ECOWAS and other African leaders, to avert any bloodshed and find a peaceful solution of the crisis. Most recently, he again refused to accept proposals by the AU High Level Group, while these proposals have been formally accepted by President Ouattara.”

Inhofe responds:
Not true. As late as March 27, 2011 the African Union sent former Cape Verde foreign minister Jose Brito to mediate between Ouattara and Gbagbo. Gbagbo accepted the mediation, but Ouattara rejected it.

French say:
“This deadlock has precipitated a deterioration of the humanitarian situation. In addition, it has led to growing violence, of which the first victims have been civilians, in spite of the presence on the ground of the U.N. Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI). It is in this context that the United Nations Security Council adopted its Resolution 1975 on March 30. This decision was adopted unanimously, including with a positive vote from the United States and the three African members of the Council (namely, Gabon, Nigeria and South Africa). It stresses the protection of civilians, and the need to prevent the use of heavy weapons in this regard, as a key element of the impartial implementation of UNOCI’s mandate.

Inhofe responds:
There is no evidence that President Gbagbo ordered the shelling or killing of civilians in Abidjan or throughout the country. He has repeatedly denied it, and it is in fact actions by forces under the control of Ouattara who have carried out military and terrorist actions. This consisted of attacks upon police and Army forces by his “invisible commandos” and the outright offensive launched from the north that has led to the present crisis.

French say:
“In Côte d’Ivoire, French forces are acting on the basis of an international mandate given by U.N. Security Council, in support to the internationally constituted U.N. peacekeeping operation (UNOCI).”

Inhofe responds:
Focus should be on the word “peacekeeping”. Unfortunately, the United Nations and French forces are not engaging in peacekeeping, but war making.

French say:
“Most recently, their intervention has been strictly consistent with Resolution 1975, and responded to a request to President Sarkozy by UN Secretary-General Ban with a view to support UNOCI as it enforces its mandate. In particular, French forces’ intervention in Abidjan has been strictly consistent with this goal, and designed to neutralize the heavy weapons used against civilian populations and UN personnel in Abidjan.”

Inhofe responds:
Not true. Abidjan is a densely populated city of four million people. In this urban environment, the collateral damage caused by the attacks by UN “Peacekeeper” and French attack helicopters and ground troops has caused hundreds if not thousands of civilian casualties. Specifically, hundreds of youths supportive of President Gbagbo formed a human shield around the presidential palace in an attempt to halt the Ouaratta and French offensive. No one knows how many of these youths have been killed by UN and French forces.

French say:
“In the context of its commitment to the protection of civilians and the fight against impunity in Côte d’Ivoire, as in the rest of Africa and worldwide, France reiterated its calls for an immediate halt to all violence against civilians, and underscored that the perpetrators of these crimes must be held accountable before a court of law. France welcomes President Ouattara’s pledge in this regard.”

Inhofe responds:
The only reported slaughter of civilians has been perpetrated by Ouattara forces currently allied with the UN and French. This occurred in the western town of Duekoue where up to 1000 people were massacred by the Dozos, traditional hunters who fought alongside Ouattara forces. This has been confirmed by the United Nations and Human Rights Watch.

French say:
“France is looking forward to the end of the current violence, and hopes that the constitutional and democratic order will eventually prevail. It is for president Ouattara and the people of Côte d’Ivoire to find the political solutions that will favor a democratic, peaceful, prosperous and reconciled nation.”

Inhofe responds:
Not true. President Gbagbo has called for an immediate cease-fire several times and has been ignored by Ouattara, the UN and French forces. The killings can come to an immediate end if these forces agree to a cease-fire.

Conclusion:
This past Wednesday, April 6, marked the 17th anniversary of the 1994 Rwandan genocide. We now know that UN General Secretary Koffi Annan and others knew of the extent of this violence early on, but did nothing about it.We all want to prevent another genocide from occurring.That is why the United States must call for an immediate ceasefire to prevent Ouattara and his rebel army from committing more mass slaughters of the Ivoirians. Lastly, I renew my request to Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Kerry requesting that he convene a hearing as soon as possible into the atrocities committed by forces loyal to rebel leader Ouattara, as well as into what I believe were flawed elections that gave legitimacy to his claim of the presidency.



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