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African Union Warns of Descent into “Widespread Violence” in Côte d’Ivoire

The African Union reiterated its concern for the situation in Côte d’Ivoire following a high level meeting on Thursday 10th March 2011.

In its final communique, the Peace and Security Council of the African Union reaffirmed its recognition of Alassane Dramane Ouattara as the President of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire. Disputed election results are at the heart of violence which has seen thousands of refugees cross into the neighbouring state of Liberia.

The council said:

“…in the absence of a speedy solution to the crisis, Côte d’Ivoire is likely to sink into widespread violence, with incalculable consequences for the country, as well as for the region and the continent as a whole.

…[The council] deeply regrets the loss of life and destruction of property that occurred in parts of Côte d’Ivoire…

[The council] calls upon the Ivorian parties to extend full cooperation for the effective implementation, within the agreed timeframe, of the Panel’s proposals, and to refrain from any action likely to complicate the situation and the process for a way out of the crisis;

[The council] underlines its determination to take, in light of the results of the negotiations referred to in paragraph 8 (i) hereof, and on the basis of the relevant instruments of the AU, all measures that the situation would require;”

The United Nations mission in Côte d’Ivoire has come under increasing pressure from the forces of Laurent Gbagbo to leave, with radio addresses and even direct fire being used against the blue helmets. The latest statement from the African Union leaves room for military action, although African leaders have been working tirelessly to facilitate a political solution and asylum for Laurent Gbagbo.

Mr. Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, President of the Republic of Mauritania, said: “the only solution to the problem of Cote d’Ivoire is peace, because war has never ever contributed to solving the problem”. He called on all Ivorian parties to return to the negotiating table in order to restore stability and security..

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