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Ouattara reiterates calls for Gbagbo's removal by force

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-01-15

Ivorian presidential candidate Alassane Ouattara has reiterated his willingness to work with allies of rival Laurent Gbagbo to form a unity government, calling on foreign powers to use force to remove the incumbent president.

AFP - Ivory Coast leader Alassane Ouattara Friday demanded the use of force to oust strongman Laurent Gbagbo who has refused to cede power after disputed elections, speaking to a US think-tank via videolink.

"I believe seriously that force should be used to remove Mr. Gbagbo," Ouattara said in a message broadcast from Abidjan.

"This is clearly a situation of gross human rights violations," he said.

"I do not want bloodshed," Ouattara said. But Gbagbo, "at some stage has to know," that the situation is serious.

He stressed, however, that he was willing to set-up a unity government with elements of Gbagbo's camp.

"During my campaign, I've put emphasis on the need for reconciliation in Cote d'Ivoire," he told the Center for Strategic & International Studies. "I also said during my campaign that I would make a government of union."

"I will do everything for this country to get out of this crisis peacefully and to show that democracy can be implemented in Africa and that this will lead to economic growth, to social growth and that Africans will be proud," he said.

Earlier Friday, Gbagbo rejected as "baseless" charges his supporters had torched UN vehicles in Abidjan, as the European Union ramped up measures against the embattled leader.

The United Nations said that supporters of Gbagbo, who refuses to concede a November 28 presidential election to his besieged rival Ouattara, had attacked several UN vehicles around Ivory Coast's main city on Thursday.

At least two people were injured when several vehicles were burned or damaged, including an ambulance, said the UN, which certified Gbagbo's election defeat and whose peacekeepers are now tasked with protecting his rival.

But Gbagbo government spokesman Ahoua Don Mello told AFP these were "baseless accusations."

"You need to have a minimum of proof before you make accusations. Do they have 'Gbagbo' written on their faces? There's really no proof," Don Mello said.

Faced with an increasingly recalcitrant Gbagbo and amid floundering efforts to mediate an end to the deadly crisis, diplomats in Brussels said the EU had decided to freeze the European assets of Gbagbo and 84 members of his camp.

Date created : 2011-01-14


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