Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

No strategy and a beige suit

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 29 August 2014 (part 2)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 29 August 2014

Read more

ENCORE!

Alain Choquette: A Hilarious Magician in Paris

Read more

FOCUS

France welcomes Iraqi Christian refugees

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Emmanuel Macron: A new economy minister with a pro-business agenda

Read more

THE OBSERVERS

More of this year's best Observers stories

Read more

#TECH 24

Changing the world, one video game at a time

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Socialist Party summer conference kicks off in explosive atmosphere

Read more

  • Exclusive: Fabius warns of further sanctions against Russia

    Read more

  • Experimental Ebola drug ‘ZMapp’ heals all monkeys in study

    Read more

  • British killer escapes from French psychiatric hospital

    Read more

  • Ukraine to relaunch NATO membership bid

    Read more

  • Police hunt for British boy with brain tumour taken to France

    Read more

  • Chelsea’s Torres set for AC Milan switch

    Read more

  • France shines in IMF list of world’s promising economists

    Read more

  • Mapping Ukraine: Canada and Russia in ‘tweet for tat’ row

    Read more

  • First case of Ebola confirmed in Senegal

    Read more

  • Obama has 'no strategy yet' on potential Syria strikes

    Read more

  • Netflix to woo French with ‘House of Cards’ set in Marseille

    Read more

  • French businesses ‘hoping for a new Thatcher’

    Read more

  • Syrian refugees surpass 3 million, UN says

    Read more

  • West backs Ukrainian claims of Russian incursion

    Read more

  • Libyan PM resigns as Islamists set up rival administration

    Read more

  • UN says 43 peacekeepers captured in Golan Heights

    Read more

  • The deleted tweets of Manuel Valls

    Read more

  • Peru seizes record 6.5 tonnes of Europe-bound cocaine

    Read more

  • Pakistan army to mediate between PM, protesters

    Read more

  • In pictures: Billions of locusts invade Madagascan capital

    Read more

Africa

Stand down or face 'legitimate force', ECOWAS tells Gbagbo

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-12-25

After holding an emergency summit on Friday, the 15-nation West African regional bloc ECOWAS said that it would send a special envoy to the Ivory Coast to tell incumbent president Laurent Gbagbo he must step down or face “legitimate force”.

AFP - West African nations on Friday threatened force if Ivory Coast strongman Laurent Gbagbo refuses to quit power and said those responsible for post-election deaths would face international prosecution.
              
Leaders from the 15-member ECOWAS regional bloc also said a high-level delegation would be sent to Ivory Coast as an "ultimate gesture" to Gbagbo in the hope that he could be persuaded to leave peacefully.
              

The statement following an emergency summit of the Economic Community of West African States came as Gbagbo's internationally recognised rival, Alassane Ouattara, urged the army to desert the incumbent leader.
              
"In the event that Mr Gbagbo fails to heed the immutable demand of ECOWAS, the community will be left with no alternative but to take other measures, including the use of legitimate force, to achieve the goals of the Ivorian people," a final statement from the summit said.
              

The bloc said it planned a meeting of military chiefs of staff from the organisation "to plan future action."
              
Leaders also expressed "deep concern over the unacceptably high number of lives lost since 7 December 2010 and warn all those responsible that they will face international trials for human rights violations at the earliest opportunity."
              
The date referred to a previous emergency summit on the Ivory Coast crisis, when ECOWAS suspended the country from the organisation and called on Gbagbo to step down.
              
Pressure on Gbagbo has mounted since last month's presidential vote, with the United States searching for more UN troops and France offering him a final chance to step aside.
              
The summit was held after a UN body demanded a halt to "atrocities" in Ivory Coast and the Central Bank of West African States blocked Gbagbo's access to finances following the World Bank's earlier move to freeze loans.
              
Much of the world, including the United Nations, has recognised Ouattara as the winner of last month's elections, but Gbagbo has refused to budge in the face of escalating calls for him to leave.
              
The financial measures may make it difficult for Gbagbo to pay salaries for soldiers and others, and Ouattara addressed the military in a statement on Friday.
              
Ouattara read the statement in the Golf Hotel, the luxury Abidjan resort where his shadow government is holed up, protected by 800 UN peacekeepers who are in turn blockaded by Gbagbo's security forces.
              
"As commander in chief, I order the Defence and Security Forces to carry out their republican mission of protecting the population against the militias and foreign mercenaries that are spilling Ivorian blood," he said.
              
Both Ouattara's camp and UN human rights monitors accuse Gbagbo's FDS of involvement in large-scale human rights abuses, and there have been reports of them working with masked militia fighters and Liberian mercenaries.
              
"Violence is returning to our towns and our city neighbourhoods. Serious human rights violations are reported from all corners," Ouattara said.
              
"Under cover of the curfew, people have been been kidnapped and executed by elements of the Republican Guard and the Cecos, backed by foreign mercenaries and militiamen," he said, in his first public statement this month.
              
While commanders of the entire 17,000-strong FDS have pledged loyalty to Gbagbo, his most feared support comes from two elite squads, the 1,500-strong Guards and the 2,000 members of the Cecos police special forces unit.
              
Ahead of Friday's summit, the United States had said it was talking with regional countries from ECOWAS about boosting the 9,000-strong UN mission in Ivory Coast.
              
French Foreign Minister Michele Alliot-Marie said Friday that Gbagbo could still step down honourably, but warned that time was growing short.
              
"Mr Gbagbo still has the possibility of leaving this situation with dignity by recognising what the results are and by handing over power," she told French radio.
              
"He has the right to a completely honourable exit... but the more time passes and the more things get out of control and there's violence, the more this possibility distances itself."
 

Date created : 2010-12-24

  • IVORY COAST

    UN condemns killing of 173 people in Ivorian 'atrocities'

    Read more

  • IVORY COAST

    'Force is the only option,' says senior Ivorian leader

    Read more

  • IVORY COAST

    France tells nationals to quit Ivory Coast 'provisionally'

    Read more

COMMENT(S)