US condemns Gbagbo's attacks on unarmed civilians

Accra, Ghana (PANA) - The United States has condemned Ivorian incumbent president Laurent Gbagbo’s continued attacks on unarmed civilians in Cote d’Ivoire and demanded an immediate end to the brutality.

"Gbagbo’s indiscriminate violence against civilians cannot be tolerated. All individuals responsible for ordering or carrying out these heinous acts will have to answer for their actions," the US Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton, said in a statement dated 18 March obtained by PANA in Accra on Saturday.

At last 25 people were killed a couple of days ago in the commercial capital, Abidjan, when Gbagbo's troops shelled a stronghold of his opponents. The UN Mission in Cote d'Ivoire says it could be crime against humanity.

"Gbagbo’s claim that he represents the Ivoirian people belies his persistent refusal to participate in the peaceful transition recommended by the African Union," the statement said.

"Gbagbo’s incendiary rhetoric, such as his recent call for civilians to take up arms against their fellow citizens, stands in stark contrast to (President) Alassane Ouattara’s appeal for calm and restraint among the Ivorian people."

The statement said now was the time for all Ivorians to embrace the path of peace and to unite in rebuilding Cote d’Ivoire so that future generations can enjoy the stability and prosperity that all Ivorians deserve.

Meanwhile, the United States is providing humanitarian assistance to civilians affected by the growing violence, including a $4.5 million food aid contribution to the United Nations World Food Program in Cote d’Ivoire and a $7.5 million contribution for refugees in neighbouring Liberia.

"We will continue to assist those affected by this violence and help put an end to the crisis," the statement added.

Cote d'Ivoire, the world's largest producer of cocoa, has been thrown into crisis since controversial run-off presidential election on 28 November, 2010 that has been claimed by Gbagbo and Ouattara.

The international community says Ouattara won the vote and has asked Gbagbo to hand over to him but he has refused.
-0- PANA MA 19March2011

19 march 2011 08:09:44




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