Image via WikipediaABUJA, Dec. 30 (Xinhua) -- Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has said negotiation for the peaceful resolution of the political impasse in Cote d'Ivoire was on course.
The Nigerian leader who also doubles as the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) chairman, made the remarks in Abuja on Wednesday when he received a closed door briefing from the peace envoys sent by ECOWAS to Cote d'Ivoire.
The envoys are Presidents Boni Yayi of Benin, Ernest Koroma of Sierra Leone and Pedro Pires of Cape Verde as well as James Gbeho, the president of ECOWAS Commission.
After the meeting, President Jonathan said the envoys had discussions with both the incumbent Laurent Gbagbo and Alassane Ouattara, who also claimed himself president.
He said the envoys would be going back to Cote d'Ivoire on Jan. 3, 2011 for further deliberations on how to resolve the crisis peacefully.
"We are still talking. I don't want to pre-empt the outcome of the meeting because they would be going back on Jan. 3, 2011," he told reporters.
"Dialogue is on and that is why they are encouraging us to go back," he said.
The Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government at an emergency meeting on Dec. 24 in Abuja resolved to deploy peace envoys to Cote d'Ivoire.
Specifically, the authority had said it would advice Gbagbo to make a peaceful exit by dispatching a special high level delegation to the country.
"In the event that Gbagbo fails to heed this immutable demand of ECOWAS, the Community would be left with no alternative but to take other measures including the use of legitimate force to achieve the goals of the Ivorian people," the authority resolved.
A post-election crisis marked by violence and killings has been witnessed in Cote d'Ivoire since the end of the presidential run- off on Nov. 28.
The country finds itself with two governments after opposition leader Ouattara and Gbagbo were sworn in as presidents and named a prime minister on either side.
The United Nations, the African Union and ECOWAS have all thrown their support behind Ouattara, who was declared president by the country's Independent Electoral Commission (CEI) to the detriment of Gbagbo, who was declared the winner by the Constitutional Council.