AU urges backing for Gbagbo exit talks with Mauritania

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (PANA) - The African Union (AU) confirmed Tuesday that the embattled Ivorian leader Laurent Gbagbo was engaged in talks with Mauritanian President Mohamed Abdel Aziz and several African leaders for his possible exit from power.

The Peace and Security Council (PSC), which received a briefing on the ongoing talks for Gbagbo’s exit from the country, has welcomed the development.

It urged all the parties to support the negotiations for the Gbagbo's exit.

A fierce military offensive launched in Abidjan, targeting Gbagbo’s stronghold, including the state television, saw troops loyal to internationally-recognised President Alassane Ouattara, seize the Presidential palace after overrunning the place.

Council members met in Addis Ababa Tuesday to discuss the evolving situation in Cote d’Ivoire and appreciated the efforts being made by the President of Mauritania, in cooperation with other African heads of state.

AU Commissioner for Peace and Security Ramtane Lamamra, who briefed the Council on the ongoing negotiations, said it was the understanding of the Mauritanian leader that Gbagbo would possibly leave the country after the talks.

The Council urged support for initiative, which it saw as a critical step towards bringing an end to the bloodbath and to peacefully resolve the current crisis.

Meanwhile, the PSC said it was deeply concerned over the grave humanitarian consequences caused by the deterioration of the security situation in Cote d’Ivoire, resulting from the intensification of the military efforts there.

The French-backed military offensive was launched following the refusal of Gbagbo to cede power in line with international demands.

Meanwhile, Council deplored the loss of many lives and condemned the violation of human rights and the abuses in the context of the military conflict.

The members reiterated the need for the protection of the civilian population.
-0- PANA AO/BOS 5April2011

05 april 2011 20:47:08

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