UN warns I.Coast contenders against inciting violence

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UN human rights chief Navi Pillay has warned Ivory Coast's two presidential candidates against making incendiary statements that could trigger violence amid delays in the announcement of the results.

"The delay in announcing the results has increased the fear and uncertainty among the Ivorian people," Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said in a statement late Wednesday.

Given the tense situation, the two candidates and their supporters must "refrain from statements that incite violence, and from any course of action designed to deprive the people of Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast) of their right to democracy," she said.

Pointing out the candidates' sway over their supporters, Pillay warned: "They may be held accountable for any violence committed in their name."

Ivory Coast held a landmark presidential run-off between President Laurent Gbagbo and rival Alassane Ouattara on Sunday, with the commission legally obliged to announce a winner by the end of Wednesday.

As the midnight deadline came and went, election authorities were still working on results of the hotly-contested vote, marred by violence that has killed at least seven people and mutual allegations of cheating.

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has responded by calling for the provisional results to be published "without further delay" and the UN Security Council has ordered special consultations on the west African nation for Thursday.

© 2010 AFP

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