Abuja, Nigeria (PANA) - The United Nations Wednesday pledged its continued support to ECOWAS in its efforts to resolve the post-election crisis in Cote d'Ivoire, but warned the parties to the crisis to refrain from violence and respect human rights.
The Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General in West Africa, Ambassador Said Djinit, gave the assurance while speaking at the opening of the two-day ECOWAS Summit in Abuja, Nigeria.
Ambassador Djinit's assurance followed the statement by ECOWAS Chairman, Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan, urging the meeting to pass a resolution asking the UN to show more interest in efforts to resolve the crisis, which has left over 400 dead and forced hundreds of thousands of Ivorians to flee to neighbouring countries.
''I wish to reiterate the support of the United Nations to the continued efforts of ECOWAS and the African Union in seeking an early and peaceful resolution that respects the will of the people of Cote d'Ivoire, as expressed during the last presidential election, that preserves the country and the sub-region from further violence and civil strife,'' he said.
The UN envoy said the global organisation, through its peacekeeping mission in Cote d'Ivoire, ''will continue to do its utmost to achieve its mandate, especially with respect to the protection of the civilian population, despite the many obstructions posed to its work in an increasingly-hostile environment''.
Incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo precipitated the crisis in his country when he refused to step down after losing last year's presidential election to Alassane Ouattara.
-0- PANA SEG 23March2011