Abidjan –  Alassane Ouattara, the internationally recognised President of Cote d’Ivoire, returned to Abidjan on Saturday night, a statement said.

Alos some African countries support President Laurent Gbagbo’s continued stay in office, Mr Pascal Affi N’Guessan, the President of the Ivorian Popular Front, has said.

Ouattara on March 9 travelled out of Cote d’Ivoire for the first time after the Nov. 28, 2010 presidential election to honour an invitation by the AU Peace and Security Council in Addis Ababa.

The statement, signed by the Director of Cabinet, Marcel Amon-Tanoh, said that Ouattara also visited Nigeria between March 11 and March 12, before returning to Abidjan.

“The Office of the President of the Republic is pleased to inform Ivorians that the Head of State, Mr Alassane Ouattara, returned after a brief sojourn outside the country.

“His sojourn in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from March 9 to 11,  and in Abuja, Nigeria, from March 11 to 12, successfully saw the triumph of democracy,’’ the statement said.

It said that Ouattara expressed his appreciation to the AU, the Council for Peace and Security, the panel of Heads of State, as well as ECOWAS, for their tireless efforts aimed at ensuring the triumph of democracy in Cote d’Ivoire.

Ouattara’s spokesman, Patrick Achi, confirmed that Ouattara had since returned to Golf Hotel in Riviera 11, where he had been holed up for about four months.

Some African countries support President Laurent Gbagbo’s continued stay in office, Mr Pascal Affi N’Guessan, the President of the Ivorian Popular Front, has said.

N’Guessan, who represented Gbagbo at the recent African Union (AU) meeting in Addis Ababa, made the remark in Abidjan on Sunday during an interaction with newsmen.

He said some African countries, including South Africa, had decided to support Gbagbo in spite of the AU’s decision affirming the victory of opposition leader Alassane Ouattara in the November 2010 presidential election.

“We have friends outside who are willing to support us.

“There are large African nations which understand the meaning of our struggle and which know that our struggle goes beyond the interests of Côte d’Ivoire.

“This involves the future of democracy and dignity in Africa.

“Therefore, we must continue to remain mobilised because our South African friends and others within the AU Council of Peace and Security (CPS) have worked to preserve the essential, which is reflected in the recognition of constitutional legality,” he said.

The AU had on Thursday endorsed Ouattara as the winner of the  presidential election, joining the initial endorsements of the UN, ECOWAS, EU and the U.S.

The West Africa correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the AU also asked Gbagbo to hand over power to Ouattara within two weeks.

N’Guessan, a former Prime Minister of Cote d’Ivoire, said the AU decision was taken in a hurry, adding that the continental body failed to undertake a thorough assessment of the facts of the presidential election.

“The CPS and the panel are locked in a kind of escapism. The panel did not take into account the reality and it refused to carry out its mission of assessing the actual process.

“The panel preferred the headlong rush. The CPS, meanwhile, locked itself in former positions already taken by the AU,” he said.

The party leader urged Ivorians to remain calm as events unfolded, expressing the hope that the situation would favour Gbagbo in the long run.

He expressed dismay that the international sanctions imposed on Cote d’Ivoire had affected various sectors of the economy, including health. (NAN)


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