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UN chief says incumbent Ivorian leader "must cede power peacefully"

04-07-2011 10:58 BJT

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki- moon said that incumbent Ivorian leader Laurent Gbagbo "must cede his power peacefully," a UN spokesman said Wednesday.

"The secretary-general said today, in remarks to a reporter, that we are doing our best to have a peaceful resolution of this," UN spokesperson Martin Nesirky said in a daily press briefing. "He said that it is totally unacceptable that Mr. Gbagbo is still persisting against the will of the total international community, and now he must cede his power peacefully."

When asked about accountability for Gbagbo, Nesirky said that " the accountability issue is first and foremost a matter for the people of Cote d'Ivoire and their justice system -- anyone who has committed crimes should be held responsible."

The UN spokesman said in recent days, the UN Operation in Cote d'Ivoire (UNOCI) has had contacts with the heads of the defense and security forces, the gendarmerie and the Republican Guards, as well as with the side of the internationally recognized president of Cote d'Ivoire, Alassane Ouattara.

Media reports on Wednesday morning indicated that the bombardments by UNOCI and the French forces against Gbagbo's strongholds have not managed to force him to relinquish power.

Gbagbo therefore vowed not to use his own hands to sign surrender documents drafted by France. The surrender documents require him to acknowledge that Ouattara is Cote d'Ivoire's new president.

Also on Wednesday, forces backing Ouattara, stormed into the residence of Gbagbo in Abidjan, the largest city in the West African country.

Affoussy Bamba, spokeswoman for the pro-Ouattara Republican Forces (FRCI), said she expected the raid on Gbagbo's last hideout to end within hours.

The FRCI would not kill the defiant strongman, but arrest him, she added. "When we shall arrest Gbagbo, we will take him to President Alassane Ouattara who will decide his fate," Bamba said in a statement following the renewed attack.

Editor:Yang Jie |Source: Xinhua

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