January 27th, 2011 10:16 EST
US Journalist George Curry Interviews Incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo or Cote d`Ivoire
President Barack Obama has recently placed three telephone calls to Laurent Gbagbo, the embattled president of CÃ´te d`Ivoire, but Gbagbo has refused to take or return any of Obama`s calls. In an exclusive videotaped 90-minute interview with Glaude Productions client George E. Curry, a syndicated U.S. newspaper columnist and special correspondent for the National Newspaper Publishers Association News Service (NNPA), a federation of more than 200 African-American newspapers, Gbagbo tells why.
"I didn`t even know if Barack Obama called me because his ambassador, he has discredited himself. So, when he tells me something, I don`t believe him," Gbagbo said in the copyrighted interview with Curry.
After failing to return Obama`s calls, Gbagbo said the U.S. president sent him a letter asking him to step aside for Alassane Ouattara who, like Gbagbo, also claims to have won the November 28, 2010 run-off. When asked about the contents of the letter, Gbagbo, a former history professor, revealed that in exchange for leaving office he`d [Obama] give me a professor`s job in Boston."
Gbagbo dismissed announced sanctions against him, his family, and his inner circle as futile.
He told Curry in the interview: "They said they are closing all of the accounts of President Gbagbo and his staff in the foreign banks, but I laughed at it. I have no accounts outside [CÃ´te d`lvoire]. In the United States, they found a small account that`s for my daughter when she was a student there. There`s $400 in the account. She forgot that there was $400 left in it."
Gbagbo said international calls for his removal by the U.S. and the European Union ignores the fact that the election process in his country is a two-step process.
"In our constitution, the Independent Electoral Commission is just an administrative body. It organizes the election and it proclaims the provisional results," Gbagbo explained. The only institution which by law proclaims the final results, proclaims who won the election and who receives the oath of president is the Constitutional Council [the Supreme Court]."
Gbagbo said the international community is demonstrating a double-standard when judging the election outcome in CÃ´te d`Ivoire.
Gbagbo said: "You, in the United States, in 2000, you had an election dispute between Al Gore and George W. Bush. They did a recount of the votes. Did we go get the NATO forces to come and attack America and impose democracy on America? This is a post-electoral dispute. That`s why I`m [suspicious of] all those countries who are rushing in to condemn us. I don`t trust them."
PHOTO: US Organizer/Businessman Charles Steele and President Gbagbo following Curry interview