International pressure will trigger war in I.Coast: Gbagbo
Incumbent Ivory Coast leader Laurent Gbagbo warned Thursday he would not leave power voluntarily and said international pressure for him to quit threatened to push the country to civil war.
"I do not believe at all in a civil war. But obviously, if the pressures continue as they have, they will push towards war, confrontation," he said in an interview with TV channel Euronews.
Gbagbo ruled out standing down voluntarily, saying that his departure did not provide "a guarantee that it would bring peace".
The international community has widely recognised Alassane Ouattara as winner of November 28 presidential elections, and Gbagbo has come under strong pressure to quit from world powers and West African neighbours.
But he remains firmly in control of economic hub Abidjan and the military, while Ouattara is trapped in a luxury resort defended by UN peacekeepers and former rebel forces loyal to him.
In the interview, which was recorded on Tuesday and is due to be broadcast in full on Friday, Gbagbo condemned France for interfering in the post-election stand-off, having previously accused the former colonial power of plotting against him.
"It (France) is interfering in the worst way. In all the resolutions on the Ivory Coast at the UN, it is France which has written the draft. We have contested them many times," he said.
"The European Union follows France. In the relations between the big powers today, each has its zone of influence. And when it concerns French-speaking countries in north Africa, when France talks, all the others follow," he said.
© 2010 AFP