An ECOWAS’ delegation is expected to meet with U.S. President Barrack Obama and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon this week on the political situation in Cote d’Ivoire.

The high-powered delegation is expected in Washington on Wednesday and in New York on Thursday, a senior diplomatic source disclosed on Monday in New York.

President Goodluck Jonathan who is ECOWAS’ chairman, nominated the team which includes President Ernest Bai Koroma of Sierra Leone, President of ECOWAS Commission, Amb. Victor Gbeho and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Odein Ajumogobia.

Nigeria’s Ambassador to the U.S., Prof. Ade Adefuye, is also part of the team.

According to the source, they are expected to meet with U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, on Wednesday after which they will proceed to the White House for a meeting with Obama.

The delegation will also on Thursday meet with Security Council members in New York to update them on ECOWAS’ position and plans for Cote d‘Ivoire.

The UN, the AU and ECOWAS have, so far, failed in their efforts to persuade Laurent Gbagbo to vacate the presidential palace for Alassane Ouattara, the internationally-recognised winner of the Nov. 28 presidential run-off election.

Four AU delegations have visited Abidjan since Dec. 1, but failed to prevail on Gbagbo to step down.

Gbagbo has not only refused to step down, but has also demanded the withdrawal of the nearly 9,000-strong UN Operation in Côte d’Ivoire.

The UN rejected the demand for the withdrawal of the Force which has been supporting the stabilisation and reunification efforts in the country in the past seven years.

Last week, the Security Council authorised the deployment of 2,000 additional troops for the mission in Cote d’Ivoire, while ECOWAS has also threatened to use legitimate force to get Gbagbo out. (NAN)


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