Dear President Zuma,
We write to you out of deep concern for what is happening in Côte d’Ivoire. Human Rights Watch’s most recent research, as demonstrated in the enclosed press release and mini-report, attests to the very tense situation there and the potential for large-scale conflict to erupt.
As a member of the African Union’s delegation, you have a crucial role to play in helping to resolve this political crisis. Most urgently, we ask you to call on incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo to urge his forces to cease immediately armed attacks against peaceful demonstrators as well as real and perceived supporters of his rival, Alassane Ouattara.
Read the rest of the letter Human Rights Watch addressed to the South African president on February 25th here.
In the meantime, Jacob Zuma met French President Nicolas Sarkozy in the wake of the G20 summit in Paris, mainly to talk about an eventual permanent African seat at the UN security council. The two presidents have not discussed publicly the issue of the Ivorian crisis, on which they have radically different views.