Lobbyist Lanny Davis confirmed to Roll Call on Wednesday night that he has resigned from working on behalf of the Ivory Coast and President Laurent Gbagbo.
Gbagbo has challenged Alassane Ouattara’s victory against him in the Nov. 28 presidential runoff, which was verified by the Independent Electoral Commission, the United Nations and other observers.
The standoff has led to violence, and thousands of residents, fearing the return of civil unrest that gripped the African nation less than a decade ago, have been displaced since the election, according to international news reports.
President Barack Obama congratulated Ouattara as the winner in a statement Dec. 3 and urged “all parties, including incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo, to acknowledge and respect this result.”
In a letter Wednesday to the Ivory Coast’s ambassador to the United States, Davis wrote, “My mission was not to say who won or who lost the election or who was right or who was wrong, but rather to help resolve this crisis peacefully.” He has urged Gbagbo “to invite an independent international investigation into his claims of electoral fraud and violence” and has tried to facilitate contact between Obama and Gbagbo, he wrote. However, he accused the government of the Ivory Coast of standing in the way and said he has not been able to contact Gbagbo recently. The letter was first reported by Politico.
“I have reached the conclusion that I have not been allowed to effectuate the mission that I was expressly asked to do by your government, despite all my best efforts to do so,” he said in the letter to the ambassador. “I therefore cannot in conscience continue to represent your government.”
Davis, a former special White House counsel for President Bill Clinton, emphasized that his decision is final but that he still hoped to help the nation reach a peaceful outcome.
“I will continue to do all I can to help encourage the parties to resolve this matter peacefully, through dialogue and mediation and non-violence, but for the reasons expressed above I will no longer be able to do so as a representative of your government,” he wrote.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.