France’s Conflict Resolution Strategy in Côte d’Ivoire and its Ethical Implications

by Maja Bovcon

Abstract

This paper evaluates France’s conflict resolution strategy by taking into account Côte d’Ivoire’s internal dynamics and the wider international context over the last two decades. Contrary to the prevailing opinion, it will be argued that France, given the circumstances, has undertaken a successful conflict resolution strategy. The controversial implication of France in the 1994 Rwandan genocide made any further French military intervention on the African continent extremely problematic. In the case of the intervention in Côte d’Ivoire, however, France has succeeded in pursuing its interests with full national and international support. Much of the legitimacy of its conflict resolution strategy derives from both the lack of motivation of other international players to act and the inability of African multilateral organizations, such as ECOWAS, to cope with security issues. Since international organizations have been unable to act appropriately, accusations of French neo-colonialism made by the Gbagbo regime and the “young patriots” have never been fully addressed, and the true reconciliation and unification of Ivorian society has been hindered.

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Maja Bovcon is finishing her Ph.D. at the Department of Politics and International Relations at University of Oxford. Her research focuses on the current Ivorian politics and the Franco-Ivorian relations.