The U.N. Security Council has called on all stakeholders in the Ivory Coast to respect the outcome of last month's presidential election, in which opposition candidate Alassane Ouattara was declared the clear winner. Wednesday evening's statement comes after five days of negotiations in the council to find a unified position.
It took the 15-member council five days of intense negotiations to come to a unified position on the outcome of the elections in Ivory Coast, where incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo clung to power, despite the United Nation's declaring opposition candidate Alassane Ouattara the winner by an "irrefutable margin""
The U.N.'s top envoy in the country, Choi Young-jin, was tasked with certifying the election results under a 2005 agreement among Ivorian political leaders.
Mr. Ouattara's victory has also been recognized by the African Union and the Economic Community of West African States, known as ECOWAS.
After days of negotiations held up by Security Council member Russia's refusal to interfere in domestic elections, the 15-member council finally came to an agreement.
The United States holds the council's rotating presidency this month. U.S. envoy Brooke Anderson read the Council's statement. "In view of ECOWAS' recognition of Mr. Alassane Dramane Ouattara as President-elect of Côte d'Ivoire and representative of the freely expressed voice of the Ivorian people as proclaimed by the Independent Election Commission, the members of the Security Council call on all stakeholders to respect the outcome of the election," he said.
She went on to say the council condemns "in the strongest possible terms" any effort to subvert the popular will of the people or undermine either the integrity of the electoral process or the free and fair elections in Ivory Coast. Ambassador Anderson added that the Security Council stands ready to impose sanctions on persons who attempt to threaten the peace process, obstruct the work of the UN mission there, or commit serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law.
The council also criticized the suspension of non-government run media in the country.
Mr. Gbagbo has ruled Ivory Coast since 2000. His term officially ended in 2005, but he has remained in office through repeated election delays. The current political crisis has raised concerns that the country could return to civil war.