ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast (AP) - Former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo made an unannounced visit to Ivory Coast, arriving late Saturday for a private meeting with the country's defiant president in a final effort to get him to cede power after losing the recent election.
An Associated Press reporter was present when the Nigerian leader arrived at the luxury Pullman Hotel surrounded by bodyguards. He declined to comment and was whisked away to his suite on the hotel's 9th floor, where he spent around an hour before re-emerging to head to the presidential palace.
Incumbent president Laurent Gbagbo has remained in office, insisting that he won - a victory handed to him by the head of the constitutional council, a member of his inner circle, who canceled votes from his opponent's strongholds.
The spokesman for Alassanne Ouattara, who is considered to be the legitimate president-elect after results issued by the electoral commission, said that Obasanjo came to meet with Ouattara immediately after leaving the palace.
Ali Coulibaly, the spokesman, said that Obasanjo will see both leaders a second time on Sunday.
The international community has been unanimous in recognizing Ouattara as the winner of the election because the results issued by the electoral body were certified by the United Nations in accordance with a 2005 peace deal. The U.N. sent over 900 observers who fanned out across the country to watch as the votes were cast and who later reviewed results poll station-by-poll station.
Copyright, Blaise APLOGAN, 2010,© Bienvenu sur Babilown
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