News / Africa

UN: Ivory Coast at Dangerous Turn

Laurent Gbagbo waves after being formally sworn-in as Ivorian president during a ceremony in Abidjan, 04 Dec 2010
Laurent Gbagbo waves after being formally sworn-in as Ivorian president during a ceremony in Abidjan, 04 Dec 2010
Larry Freund

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says the situation in Ivory Coast has taken a dangerous turn, as incumbent president Laurent Gbagbo continues to refuse to accept challenger Alassane Ouattara as the winner of the country's recent election.

After warning that the situation in Ivory Coast has taken a dangerous turn, Secretary-General Ban said any attempt to obstruct U.N. operations or blockade the Golf Hotel is totally unacceptable. Alassane Ouattara, widely recognized as the winner of Ivory Coast's presidential election, and his supporters have been based in Abidjan's Golf Hotel. Mr. Ban told reporters that those responsible for the loss of civilian lives will be held accountable.

"The results of the election are known," said Ban Ki-moon. "There was a clear winner. There is no other option. The efforts of Laurent Gbagbo and his supporters to retain power and flout the public will cannot be allowed to stand. I call on him to step down and allow his elected successor to assume office without further hindrance. Any other outcome would make a mockery of democracy and the rule of law."

Responding to a reporter's question, the U.N. Secretary-General said the situation in Ivory Coast is very tense. He called it an unacceptable situation and hoped that what he called the constitutional order will be restored as soon as possible.

A senior United States official has said that Ivory Coast president Gbagbo has just days to step down or face international sanctions. The United Nations Security Council, in a statement read by United States ambassador Susan Rice, the current council president, condemned "in the strongest terms" acts of violence.

"The members of the Security Council warn all stakeholders that they will be held accountable for attacks against civilians and will be brought to justice, in accordance with international law and international humanitarian law," said Susan Rice.

The Security Council called on all parties to respect the will of the people and the outcome of the elections.

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