EU Calls for Crisis Talks With Ivory Coast
The European Commission wants to start a dialog over human rights and fair elections with the Ivory Coast.
The European Commission called for a review of the EU's relations with the Ivory Coast as the human rights situation in the country deteriorates. "The aim of the consultations is to re-establish the full respect of the principles of human rights, democracy and rule of law," the Commission said in a statement. "Implementation of development cooperation will be reassessed in the light of the outcome of the consultations." Singling out some aspects for particular mention, the European Commission said human rights were seriously violated earlier this year and referred to UN reports on the discovery of several mass graves. It also said the planned 2005 elections are being put into jeopardy by "huge delays in adopting the principal legislation concerning the independent electoral commission." Rebels have controlled the north of Ivory Coast since their failed coup attempt against President Laurent Gbagbo in September 2002. The attempted coup plunged the coca-rich country, once one of West Africa's most stable nations, into civil war between the mainly Muslim north and the main Christian and animist south.