UK joins worldwide calls for Gbagbo exit

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (PANA) - Fearing fresh blood-letting in Cote d’Ivoire after the re-launch of a fierce military offensive, the African Union and the United Kingdom on Monday called for restraint by both sides and called on Alassane Ouattara to assume the Presidency.

United Kingdom Foreign Secretary William Hague, and AU Commission President Jean Ping called for restraint from both sides and insisted that Ouattara should immediately ascend to the Presidency because he was so democratically elected.

The two officials expressed the hope to see a swift resolution of the conflict and for President Ouattara to take up the office to which he has been democratically elected, the AU said in a statement after a meeting in London.

“Both parties further expressed deep concern at the situation in Cote d’Ivoire and at the resulting worsening humanitarian crisis. They agreed that all sides need to show restraint and protect civilians,” statement added.

Incumbent Ivorian leader Laurent Gbagbo has defied international pressure to remain in power despite international sanctions and a military offensive launched by forces loyal to Presidential rival Ouattara.

Pro-Ouattara forces have made rapid advances on Gbagbo’s strongholds, advancing on commercial capital Abidjan from where a fresh offensive was launched on Monday, targeting key locations, according to media reports.

Pro-Gbagbo forces recaptured the national television in the capital, earlier taken by the pro-Ouattara forces.

The AU and the UK, called on the two sides to spare civilians.

Meanwhile, the AU and the UK reviewed ways and means of enhancing the partnership between them, in tackling peace and security issues, with Ping thanking the UK for its support to the AU, in the area of peace and security.

The UK Permanent Observer to the African Union, Norman Ling, attended the meetings, among others.
-0- PANA AO/MA 4April2011

04 april 2011 22:11:01




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