4 March 2011
Paris — Mozambican President Armando Guebuza has recognised that the upheavals in north Africa send a warning, not only to other Arab countries, but to sub-Saharan Africa as well.
Interviewed in Paris by the European television news channel “Euronews”, Guebuza said that the regimes in north Africa “must do all they can to listen to and respect the demands of their people”.
“We are still seeing situations of confrontation, so it still isn’t clear what outcome might be accepted by all sides in these conflicts”, he added, “but we defend people’s right to have their demands respected”.
As for the “domino effect”, mentioned by the “Euronews” reporter, Guebuza said “Right now, we can’t tell how much this might affect sub-Saharan Africa, but the important thing is that it serves as a warning for all of us. A warning that we have to take the needs of our people into account, and we have to intensify dialogue with the people.”
Asked about one of the factors contributing to unrest, the sharp rise in food prices, Guebuza said “the answer is to increase productivity and we are preparing to do that. Production will increase this year. Even if production doesn’t reach the levels we need it to straight away, it will be a way to encourage the acceleration of increasing food production.”
As for the crisis in Ivory Coast, where the incumbent, Laurent Gbagbo, is refusing to cede power to the man generally believed to have won the presidential election, Alassane Ouattara, Guebuza was optimistic that the panel of heads of state established in late January by the African Union would be able “to find a way out of this difficult situation”.
As for allegations that some countries, such as Angola and South Africa, still support Gbagbo, Guebuza said “It’s normal that there are differences in a situation like this which is why we’re giving it our special attention and why we wanted to have some of these countries on the council to enter mediation to solve the conflict”.
But Guebuza insisted that “Our main aim as the African Union is to ensure that in the end, the new administration will reflect the results of the elections which were held in this country.”
Asked how long it would take to solve the crisis, Guebuza said “We all want to see a solution as soon as possible, but with these types of things there are no calendars. It’s a search for consensus in a situation where there are very marked differences between the two sides.”
AllAfrica – All the Time
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Mozambique: North African Turmoil Sends Us a Warning – Guebuza