A spokesman for former Ivorian Prime Minister Alassane Ouattara has called for the “forceful” removal of embattled President Laurent Gbagbo.
This comes a day ahead of a scheduled emergency meeting Friday of leaders of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), about finding ways to resolve the ongoing political crisis in Ivory Coast.
Patrich Achi, Minister of Infrastructure and spokesman for Mr. Ouattara, said the refusal of President Gbagbo to step down after losing the 28th November presidential run-off, in his words, is the main cause of the worsening political crisis.
Embattled President Gbagbo Tuesday called on Mr. Ouattara and his supporters to leave the Golf Hotel to their homes. But, supporters of Mr. Ouattara rejected his call as illegitimate.
“President Ouattara is just saying, as long as former President Gbagbo will not recognize that he has lost the election, and (that) the new democratically-elected president is Alassane Ouattara, he will not consider anything (Mr.) Gbagbo is saying,” said Achi.
“We are not concerned about the setting up of an evaluation committee. The international community through the United Nations, the European Union, the African Union and ECOWAS, has already voiced out that Alassane Ouattara has won. What (more) evaluation has to be done? Most of them have instructed (Mr.) Gbagbo to leave the country peacefully.”
The international community, including both the African Union and ECOWAS, declared Mr. Ouattara as winner of the vote and demanded Mr. Gbagbo to step down and hand over power to his successor.
Achi said President Gbagbo should be removed since, in his words, he continues to defy the international community’s demand for him to step down.
“I hope that, at the ECOWAS meeting, people will finally decide that if (there) is a need for military force. Then, they should use military force to remove this guy (Mr. Gbagbo), so that everybody will know that never again (will) a head of state in Africa should do something like that and act against his own people.”
Meanwhile, the United States says it is talking with France and West African states about “augmenting” the U.N. peacekeeping force in Ivory Coast as the political crisis there continues.