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African Union suspends Ivory Coast over election dispute

Video by Pierrick Leurent , Kathryn STAPLEY

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2010-12-09

The African Union suspended Ivory Coast Thursday until incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo cedes power to challenger Alassane Ouattara. The decision comes hours after the UN Security Council came out in favour of Ouattara.

The African Union (AU) suspended Ivory Coast Thursday. The West African nation is barred from participating in further AU activities "until the democratically elected president Alassane Ouattara takes power", the organisation's Peace and Security Commissionner said Thursday.

The country's electoral commission has declared Ouattara the winner by nearly 10 points, following Ivory Coast's Nov. 28 presidential elections. But the Constitutional Council — headed by a Gbagbo ally — overruled that result, charging fraud in some areas, and declared Gbagbo winner.

Earlier Thursday, the UN Security Council also came out in support of Ouattara, officially backing him as the winner of the disputed elections and thereby bolstering his challenge to incumbent Laurent Gbagbo.

But the Security Council’s statement had been held up since last Friday by Russia after the country voiced concerns that the UN would be overstepping its mandate by taking sides in the results of the Ivory Coast presidential election.

UN denounces attempt to “subvert” electorate’s will

In the statement ultimately agreed upon, the 15-nation Security Council cited ECOWAS’s recognition of Ouattara as president-elect and called on all involved “to respect the outcome of the election”.

Though Gbagbo was not explicitly mentioned in the statement, the Security Council condemned “in the strongest possible terms any attempt to subvert the popular will of the people”.

The council also said it would impose “targeted measures” against those standing in the way of the peace process or UN efforts in Ivory Coast.

Alassane Ouattara - Portrait

The US, the EU, and the West African ECOWAS bloc had already called for Gbagbo to cede power to his rival.

The last several days in Ivory Coast have seen a tense deadlock, with both Gbagbo and Ouattara swearing themselves in and naming governments. There have been fears both at home and abroad that the new political flare-up would send the country spinning back toward the ethnic violence of the years that followed the civil war.

Date created : 2010-12-09


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