W.African defence chiefs agree to eject Gbagbo if talks fail
Lagos (AFP) Dec 31, 2010
West African regional military chiefs have set in motion plans to use force to oust Ivory Coast strongman Laurent Gbagbo if negotiations fail, a Nigerian defence spokesman said Friday.
"The committee of chiefs of defence staff met on Tuesday and Wednesday to put machinery in motion that if all political persuasions fail... ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) will forcefully take over power from Laurent Gbagbo and hand over to Alassane Ouattara," Colonel Mohamed Yerimah told AFP.
"This is the last resort but hopefully Gbagbo will be persuaed to handover power politically without military cohesion," he said.
A follow-up meeting to fine-tune the logistics is scheduled for Mali on January 17 and 18, he said.
"The meeting will decide on all the modalities for the operation, like how long the troops will remain and how soon they will be deployed," said Yerimah.
He said member countries will be expected to contribute troops and materials for the operation.
This week's Abuja meeting was attended by military chiefs from Benin, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Liberia, Mali, Senegal, Togo, Niger and Nigeria.
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