NEW YORK–(ENEWSPF)–15 December 2010 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is deeply concerned about the continuing political stalemate in Côte d’Ivoire, where the situation is taking a worrying turn with unfolding events that could lead to widespread violence.
“The Secretary-General reiterates his call on all the Ivorian parties and their supporters to exercise patience and refrain from any actions that could, accidentally or deliberately, provoke violence,” according to statement issued today by the Secretary-General’s spokesperson.
Côte d’Ivoire has been thrust into political uncertainty after the incumbent president refused to concede electoral defeat. The UN has endorsed the victory of opposition leader and President-elect, Alassane Ouattara, in the run-off presidential elections held on 28 November, despite outgoing President Laurent Gbagbo’s claim to have won.
The unfolding events that could lead to violence include the recent threats by some commanders of the national security forces to resort to military options, the standoff between elements of the Forces nouvelles and national security forces near the Golf Hotel on 13 December, and the marches planned by supporters of the Rassemblement des Houphouëtistes pour la Démocratie et la Paix.
Mr. Ban stresses that in the currently charged political environment such actions could have unpredictable consequences, including reigniting civil war and reminds those who incite or perpetrate violence and those who use the media for this purpose, that they will be held accountable for their actions.
The statement added that the Secretary-General, once again, calls upon Mr. Gbagbo to respect the will of the Ivorian people and to step down to allow President-elect Ouattara to assume his mandate, and that Mr. Ban remains in close contact with the Ivorian stakeholders, as well as regional and international leaders who stand firm in their demand for a peaceful end to the crisis and for respect for the will of the people.
Côte d’Ivoire, the world’s largest cocoa exporter, was split by civil war in 2002 into a Government-controlled south and a rebel-held north. The elections were expected to complete a UN-backed process of reunifying the country and restoring stability.