A deal between victors?

3 10 2007

The Ouagadougou agreement and hopes of peace in Côte d’Ivoire

A SEMINAR IN OSLO, organized by The Norwegian Council for Africa

(A collaboration between Afrika.no and CouperColler)

Speakers:

Erik Solheim, Minister for Development, Norway

Alain Lobognon, Special Advisor to Prime Minister Soro in charge of media and communications (New Forces), Ivory Coast

CouperColler, internet consultant and blogger on politics and media in Ivory Coast, Oslo / Abidjan

Chair: Guro Almås, Director, Norwegian Council for Africa

Time: Thursday October 4, 11:30-13:30

Venue: Human Rights House, Tordenskioldsgate 6b, Oslo

The conflict in Côte d’Ivoire which erupted after an attempted coup d’etat in September 2002, has led to social instability and insecurity for the people and raised concerns about negative effects on regional stability in West Africa. With the country split in two between the government and rebel forces (New Forces), political violence, impunity, and disputes on nationality and voter registration have kept political developments at a stand-still and hampered the preparations for elections .

In March 2007, a peace agreement was signed in Ouagadougou between the two belligerent parties in the Ivorian conflict: the New Forces (ex-rebel-movement) and the government of President Gbagbo. While sceptics point to unresolved issues and the exclusion of the traditional political opposition in the peace deals, most Ivorians are hopeful that the agreement represents a first step towards elections, stability and peace.

– Why is it more likely that the current peace agreement will succeed, where former attempts (Marcoussis, Accra 1 and 2, Pretoria) failed? Will it be possible to organise free and fair elections within the planned schedule of December 2007?

– What are the fundamental causes of the conflict in Côte d’Ivoire, and does the Ouagadougou agreement adequately address them?

– Which role can an external actor like Norway undertake in the peace process, and what are the challenges of such an involvement?

– How does the media coverage of the conflict influence the prospect for a peaceful solution?


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