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UN chief says organization "will not be deterred" in Cote d'Ivoire

01-15-2011 08:53 BJT

UNITED NATIONS, Jan. 14 (Xinhua) -- UN Secretary-general Ban Ki- moon said here on Friday that the UN will not back down on its mandate to protect Ivorian civilians and the rightfully elected government in the country, and that he has asked the Security Council to increase peacekeeping troops in the country.

"The United Nations will not be deterred from its duty in Cote d'Ivoire," he said. "We will not be intimidated."

Ban's statements came during his monthly press conference with journalists, where he addressed the unfolding crisis in Cote d' Ivoire, which stems from the results of a runoff presidential election held in the West African country on Nov. 28.

Although Alassane Ouattara was named the winner of the election by the Ivorian electoral commission and widely recognized by the international community, his opponent, former president Laurent Gbagbo, has refused to step down, leading to protests and violence.

"I am deeply concerned by the deteriorating political and security situation especially the growing number of violent incidents targeting civilians and the United Nations mission," Ban said.

Gbagbo's forces are enforcing a blockade of the Golf Hotel where Ouattara's government is currently based. Violence against UN peacekeepers including the burning of UN convoys by Gbagbo's forces as well as raids of neighborhoods thought to be loyal to Ouattara have been reported.

"We have credible accounts of grave human rights violations," Ban said. "Apart from the blockade of the Golf Hotel and the attempt to constrict supplies to the UN mission, in itself unacceptable, we have concrete intelligence that the former president and those around him are inciting their followers to violence, both against the UN and their own countrymen."

Ban added that those who perpetrate violence against civilians or peacekeepers will be held accountable under international law.

"The International Criminal Court has declared its intention to open investigations," he said. "I call on all sides to exercise maximum restraint and I state once again in the strongest possible terms: those committing or inciting acts of violence will be held responsible."

Ban told reporters that in order to deal with the escalating situation in Cote d'Ivoire, he is requesting the deployment of more UN troops to the West African nation.

"We are now in the process of discussing with the Security Council to increase the critical assets, we want to have some more forces stationed as soon as possible," he said.



Editor:Zhang Pengfei |Source: Xinhua

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