Sarkozy discusses I.Coast crisis with Nigeria president

23rd December 2010, Comments 0 comments

French President Nicolas Sarkozy discussed the situation in Ivory Coast with his Nigerian counterpart Goodluck Jonathan Thursday ahead of a regional summit aimed at dealing with the political stand-off there.

Jonathan also holds the rotating presidency of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) that meets in Abuja Friday and which has already suspended Ivory Coast over Laurent Gbagbo's refusal to relinquish power.

Sarkozy voiced "gratitude to President Jonathan for ECOWAS's resolute engagement for a rapid return to peace and stability in Ivory Coast, respecting the will of the Ivorian people as expressed in the presidential election."

The French president, whose country is Ivory Coast's former colonial ruler, "noted that this position is entirely shared by the European Union," said a statement from his office.

Both the incumbent Gbagbo and his rival Alassane Ouattara claimed victory in the November 28 run-off presidential elections.

The United States, the European Union, the African Union and ECOWAS have all recognised Ouattara as the winner of the elections and called on Gbagbo to step down immediately.

UN rights officials said Thursday at least 173 people have been killed in post-election violence in Ivory Coast and that they had received reports of mass graves as Gbagbo refuses to relinquish power.

© 2010 AFP

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