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Ouattara takes oath in April, asks Gbagbo to leave

Abidjan – Alassane Ouattara, Ivorian President-elect said he would not disappoint the people when sworn in by the Constitutional Council in April.

He, therefore, called on President Laurent Gbagbo to comply with the will of the Ivorian people and the decisions of the AU, and leave the Presidential Villa.

Ouattara made the remarks in Abidjan on Tuesday in his first broadcast on return from the AU meeting in Addis Ababa, where he was confirmed winner of the Ivorian presidential election.

“For Gbagbo, I would say it is time to leave. In the superior interest of the nation, I ask him to take this new initiative of the High Level Panel of the African Union after the votes by the Ivorian people.

Ouattara said that Gbagbo should also consider appeals from religious and civil society groups, ECOWAS, EU, U.S., UN and all our development partners.

He called for cessation of hostilities, warning that violence would only aggravate the suffering on the masses.

“We must in all circumstances, especially now, oppose the indiscriminate use of violence,’’ Ouattara said in the broadcast monitored by News men in Abidjan.

The President-elect said Gbagbo’s cling to power provided sufficient reasons for violence in the country.

“This situation is grave and intolerable due to the insistence of Gbagbo to want to stay in power, contrary to common sense and verdict of the polls,” he said.

Ouattara said Gbagbo had the only chance left to take the path of honour out of the presidential villa.

“He must understand that this is for himself and his family, the last chance for a peaceful and honourable exit, ” he said.

The President-elect said he would follow the recommendations of the AU for peaceful resolution of the crisis by setting up a government of national unity and a truth and reconciliation commission.

“Our country can and must live, provided that we all have the will.

“Therefore, I ask the outgoing President, the Constitutional Council, the Army and the Administration to accept this opportunity given to us by the AU to emerge from a crisis that has lasted too long,’’ he said.

He urged the Constitutional Council, mostly of Gbagbo’s loyalists and the security forces to respect the Ivorian Constitution and support the will of the people that was expressed in the polls in 2010.

“The debate over the presidential election is over. It is now time to build our country together and reconcile all Ivorians, ” he said.

Ouattara said the casualties of the Ivorian political crisis would be compensated, expressing regret and sympathy on the lives lost so far.

“I am not the president of one part of Cote d’Ivoire against another part. I am the president of all Ivorians who are called to live together in a Côte d’Ivoire,’’ he added.

Soldiers loyal to Ouattara had been gradually claiming the country, with all the border towns between Liberia and Cote d’Ivoire under their control.

The soldiers, known as the “Invisible Commandoes,’’ control the northern towns of Abobo and parts of Adjame, Abidjan, and had been making efforts to reach the central part of the country, which includes the presidential villa.

The “Invisible Commandoes’’ have kept the Ivorian army on the defensive since January, with heavy firing and melting into residential areas when confronted.


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