ECOWAS blames Gbagbo for Ivorian violence

Lagos, Nigeria (PANA) - The ECOWAS Commission Friday blamed Cote d'Ivoire's recalcitrant incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo for the intensified fighting in the West African nation, after forces loyal to president-elect Alassane Ouattara swept into the commercial city of Abidjan in an attempt to dislodge Gbagbo.

Expressing grave concern over the ''violent and speedy turn that the political crisis in Côte d’Ivoire has taken over the last 36 hours'', the Commission said in a statement that the fighting was ''a direct consequence of the intransigence of the out-going President, Mr. Laurent Gbagbo, who has repeatedly refused to heed calls for him to cede the reins of power in the country to the President-Elect, Mr. Alassane Ouattara.''

It added: ''The ECOWAS Commission is particularly exercised by the high toll in human life and physical destruction that the escalating armed confrontation continues to inflict on the country, and the mounting refugee crisis it is creating in neighbouring Member States.

''The Commission, therefore, calls on Mr. Laurent Gbagbo to end the suffering of his country and people at this time by ceding power immediately to Mr. Alassane Ouattara, the legitimate winner of the 28th November 2010 presidential election.''

It also called for the immediate cessation of hostilities and requests the Ivorian leaders to ensure maximum protection of the civilian population, including ECOWAS citizens and other nationals, by forces under their control.

''The Commission wishes to remind all concerned in the on-going violence that ECOWAS will not condone crimes against humanity nor spare those who trample the rights of the people underfoot.

''In that regard, the Commission must warn all parties of their individual, collective and control responsibilities for violations of international humanitarian, human rights and refugee laws,'' the Commission said.
-0- PANA SEG 1April2011

01 april 2011 18:30:11




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