The African Union has asked South African President Thabo Mbeki to help resolve the crisis in Ivory Coast.

In a statement Sunday, the bloc said Mr. Mbeki has a mandate to seek a "political solution" to the crisis. It was not immediately clear what steps Mr. Mbeki may take to deal with violence involving Ivorian government troops, rebels and French peacekeepers.

Pope John Paul expressed concern Sunday over the situation, calling on Ivory Coast's government and rebels to respect earlier peace accords and return to dialogue.

In New York Saturday, the United Nations Security Council condemned Ivorian military attacks on French troops in the country, and said it supports the French action against the Ivorian military.

Some information for this report provided by AFP and Reuters.