France recognises Ouattara I.Coast election win

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French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Friday recognised Alassane Ouattara as the new president of Ivory Coast and called on his rival, outgoing president Laurent Gbagbo, to respect the result.

Sarkozy appealed to Gbagbo, along with all senior civilian and military officials "to respect the will of the people, abstain from any action that might provoke violence" and help establish a lasting period of peace and reconciliation.

A presidential statement noted an earlier declaration by UN Secretary General Ban-ki Moon and his Ivory Coast envoy that endorsed Ouattara's victory, as announced by the electoral commission.

Sarkozy congratulated Ouattara and, seizing on an earlier statement by the former opposition leader, welcomed his decision to form a national unity government.

The French foreign ministry earlier urged Ivory Coast authorities to respect the wishes of voters and to calmly await the definitive results of the disputed election in the former French colony.

On Thursday, Ivory Coast's Independent Electoral Commission announced that former prime minister Alassane Ouattara had beaten the incumbent, President Laurent Gbagbo, by 54.1 percent to 45.9.

Gbagbo's camp has accused the opposition of fraud and the president of the state's highest legal body the Constitutional Council, who is close to the president, declared the result invalid.

But Ban made clear he accepted the electoral commission result.

From New York, Ban called on Gbagbo "to do his part for the good of the country and to cooperate in a smooth political transition," in a statement issued by his spokesman.

© 2010 AFP

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