In an urgent meeting in Abidjan on 18 October 2002 the Socialist International Africa Committee examined the grave developments in Côte d'Ivoire following the 19 September attacks on the country's constitutional order.
Delegates at the opening session, which was addressed by Luis Ayala, SI Secretary General, and Ousmane Tanor Dieng, Chair of the SI Africa Committee (Senegal, PS), heard a direct contribution by the President of the Republic of Côte d'Ivoire, Laurent Gbagbo, concerning the situation in his country.
Participants at the special meeting included representatives from Angola, Benin, Belgium, Cameroon, Cape Verde, France, Ghana, Guinea, Morocco, Mozambique, Niger, Portugal, Sweden, Togo, Tunisia and from Socialist International Women. (Full list of participants) The delegates heard further about developments from members of the Ivorian government, including the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the former Minister of Defence, the President of the National Assembly and members of the leadership of the Ivorian Popular Front, FPI.
Meeting as a cease-fire was agreed between representatives of ECOWAS and the aggressors and witness to the acceptance by the government of the agreement reached, the Committee, in its Abidjan Declaration, reaffirmed the International's complete support for President Gbagbo, the democratically elected head of State, reiterating the International's condemnation of the attack on Ivorian democracy, and applauded President Gbagbo's courageous decision to engage in an all-inclusive dialogue as a guarantee of lasting peace. The Committee welcomed the cease-fire agreement, calling for it to be put into operation with the briefest possible delay. The will and capacity of the States in the region to take responsibility for their own destiny, as witnessed by the actions undertaken in the framework of ECOWAS, were also noted with particular satisfaction by the Committee.
The Socialist International Africa Committee met in urgent session on Friday, 18 October 2002, in Abidjan, to consider the situation in Côte d’Ivoire.
This meeting of the Africa Committee was an expression of its duty of solidarity to one of its members, the Ivorian Popular Front, the party in government in Côte d’Ivoire, and to the people of the country which faces a major threat to its integrity, sovereignty and institutions.
Having examined and analysed the socio-political and military situation, on the basis of the opening speech delivered by His Excellency Laurent Gbagbo, President of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire, the Socialist International Africa Committee:
1. Declares its firm support for President Laurent Gbagbo, the democratically elected head of state.
2. Recalls that democracy is the only guarantee of progress, peace and concord among citizens and among peoples. Any form of attack on the constitutional order and any violent attempt to seize power are therefore unacceptable.
3. Joins with those in all states and political and non-governmental organisations for whom democracy and the search for peace represent the only means of promoting the development of the African continent.
4. Vigorously condemns the attack to which Côte d’Ivoire has been subjected at a time when the country is courageously engaging in a real process of development and the promotion of social justice, and demands that the leaders of the forces that have chosen to take up arms renounce the fruitless course which they are pursuing.
5. Expresses its satisfaction at initiatives taken at regional and international level to bring this unjustifiable aggression to a rapid end.
6. Notes with particular satisfaction the will and the capacity of the states of the region to take responsibility for their own destiny, as witnessed by actions within the framework of the ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States).
7. Expresses its satisfaction at the cease-fire agreement between the ECOWAS representatives and the aggressors, and calls for its provisions to be implemented without delay, in particular the gathering into camps, demobilisation and disarmament of the aggressors, so that governmental authority is re-established throughout the national territory.
8. Salutes the courageous decision of President Laurent Gbagbo to resolutely commit himself to an all-inclusive republican dialogue as a guarantee of lasting peace.
9. Pays homage to the brave people of Côte d’Ivoire and encourages them to persevere in their efforts for democracy, peace, freedom, respect for human rights and solidarity.
10. Recommends that the SI organise as quickly as possible a meeting of parliamentarians and socialist leaders of the countries of the sub-region, to examine ways of developing peaceful relations and also the role of the media.
11. Encourages President Laurent Gbagbo to persevere in deepening the inter-Ivoirian political dialogue he has initiated with all supporters of peace and the rule of law.
12. Calls on the friends of Côte d’Ivoire to support the President’s efforts in this respect.
13. Records with pride the prompt and ready response of its own members to the invitation of the Secretariat of the SI to meet in Abidjan.
14. Expresses its thanks to the leaders and members of the Ivorian Popular Front, and all the democrats of Côte d’Ivoire, for the warm welcome extended to them during their short stay in the country.
President of the Committee
Ousmane Tanor Dieng
Secretary General of the Socialist International
Gervasio Das Saudades
Socialist Party, PS
Social Democratic Party, PSD
Social Democratic Front, SDF
John Fru Ndi
African Party of Cape Verde’s Independence, PAICV
Ivorian Popular Front, FPI
Marie Odette Lorougnon
Socialist Party, PS
Guinean People’s Assembly, RPG
Socialist Union of Popular Forces, USFP
Abdelhamid Ben El Cadi
Tiago Recibo Castigo
Party for Democracy and Socialism of Niger, PNDS
Socialist Party, PS
Swedish Social Democratic Party, SAP
Democratic Convention of African Peoples, CDPA
Constitutional Democratic Assembly, RCD
Socialist International Women, SIW
National Democratic Congress, NDC
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