AU nudges besieged Gbagbo on immediate power transfer in Cote d'Ivoire

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (PANA) - The African Union (AU) has called for an immediate transfer of power from outgoing Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo to the internationally-accepted winner of the country’s presidential election, Alassane Outtara.

AU Commission Chairperson Jean Ping said here Friday he was following closely the situation in Côte d'Ivoire, marked by military operations conducted under the authority of the internationally‐recognized President to force Gbagbo to comply with the election result.

Gbagbo is reportedly besieged, with just a skeleton force around him, following a mass defection of his top military personnel, as forces loyal to Ouattara surrounded the economic capital city of  Abidjan, after taking control of key cities across the country.

Ping recalled the efforts made by the AU, in close cooperation with ECOWAS, the United Nations and other partners, to find a peaceful solution to the crisis that broke out in the aftermath of the second round of the presidential election of 28 November 2010.

He said Gbagbo should respect the will of Ivorians, who chose Ouattara as the President of the Republic.

The international efforts to end the political standoff culminated in the proposals made by the AU High‐Level Panel for the Resolution of the Crisis in Côte d'Ivoire, and endorsed on 10 March 2011 by the 265th meeting of the AU Peace and Security Council (PSC).

The council also directed that negotiations be convened between the Ivorian parties to agree on the modalities for the implementation of the proposals.

Ping regretted the refusal by the outgoing President to accept the proposals, as well as his rejection of all other initiatives aimed at ending the crisis.

He said Gbagbo's action had not made it possible to speedily complete the implementation of a peaceful solution to the crisis that would have spared Ivorians the additional suffering being visited upon them today.

The AU chief also called for the protection of the civilian population and the obligations of all parties in this respect, as provided for by international humanitarian law, including access of humanitarian actors to civilian populations in need.
-0- PANA AO/SEG 1April2011

01 april 2011 11:44:47

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