Ivory Coast begs US to offset French presence

10th December 2004, Comments 0 comments

WASHINGTON, Dec 9 (AFP) - A close adviser to Ivory Coast's president on Thursday urged Washington to deepen its involvement in the west African nation to help put an end to a two-year-old crisis.

WASHINGTON, Dec 9 (AFP) - A close adviser to Ivory Coast's president on Thursday urged Washington to deepen its involvement in the west African nation to help put an end to a two-year-old crisis.

"We are seeking to get the US more involved in solving this crisis," said President Laurent Gbagbo's political adviser, Sarat Ottro Zirignon-Toure.

Zirignon-Toure said she will meet with US officials in the next few days, including Republican Representative Ed Royce, chairman of the House subcommittee on Africa.

"We really need an increased US engagement in our country," she said in a news conference. "The US is the only country that can be an honest broker in the current crisis."

US involvement would counterbalance former colonial power France, which has 5,000 soldiers serving in Ivory Coast alongside a similar United Nations peacekeeping mission.

Ivory Coast has been divided since rebels failed in a bid to oust Gbagbo in September 2002. The conflict had simmered at a low-level since then but escalated sharply last month when the Ivorian armed forces bombarded key towns in the northern, rebel-held part of Ivory Coast.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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