France calls for restraint in Ivory Coast

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France on Thursday called for restraint in Ivory Coast as the former French colony braced for violence between supporters of its two self-declared presidents.

"I believe (Laurent) Gbagbo will accept the result of the election in which Ivorians very clearly chose (Alassane) Ouattara as their president," Foreign Minister Michele Alliot-Marie said.

"We also call for restraint on both sides," she told LCI television news channel. "I believe we must avoid any violence. Ivory Coast does not need that."

Both Ouattara and Gbagbo claim to have won last month's election, and both have declared themselves president, triggering fears of new chaos in a country already divided since 2002 into northern and southern armed camps.

Ouattara has been recognized by the international community as winner of a November 28 runoff presidential vote.

© 2010 AFP

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