Togo, Rivals OK Foreign Mediators
LOME, Togo (AP) _ Togo’s president and his main rivals have agreed to invite diplomats from Europe and French-speaking countries to mediate in January talks aimed at resolving an election dispute, party officials said Friday.
Leader of opposition group Union of Forces for Change, Gilchrist Olympio, has filed a protest with the Supreme Court in this small French-speaking West African nation, contesting the results of June presidential elections.
President Gnassingbe Eyadema prematurely ended vote-counting and declared himself the winner.
Opposition groups have boycotted parliament and organized street protests that flared into violence with police. Eyadema has offered to form a coalition government with Olympio, but the opposition leader declined.
The mediators for the talks, likely to be held in mid-January, will be from the European Union, Germany, France and other French-speaking countries. Observers from the United States, Canada and neighboring African states may also be invited.
Eyadema has ruled Togo since seizing power 31 years ago in a bloody military coup, during which he ordered the execution of former President Sylvanus Olympio, Gilchrist’s father.