Presidents of Benin, Sierra Leone arrive in Cote d'Ivoire for talk with Gbagbo

09:05, December 29, 2010      

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The photo taken on Dec. 27, 2010 shows a helicopter takes off in Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire. Benin's President Boni Yayi and Sierra Leone's President Ernest Koroma have arrived in Cote d'Ivoire to persuade the country's incumbent Laurent Gbagbo to cede power, media reports said on Tuesday. President of Cape Verde Pedro Pires is also expected. The three leaders are in the country as a special delegation from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to urge Gbagbo to step down. (Xinhua/Zhao Yingquan)


Benin's President Boni Yayi and Sierra Leone's President Ernest Koroma have arrived in Cote d'Ivoire to persuade the country's incumbent Laurent Gbagbo to cede power, media reports said on Tuesday.

President of Cape Verde Pedro Pires is also expected in the West African country on Tuesday. The three leaders are in the country as a special delegation from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to urge Gbagbo to step down.

ECOWAS issued a communique last Friday over Cote d'Ivoire at its heads of state meeting in Nigeria, warning Gbagbo the use of force if he refuses to give up power.

The document said that the "use of legitimate force not ruled out by ECOWAS if Gbagbo fails to heed demand."

The bloc also decided to dispatch a special high-level delegation to Cote d'Ivoire to urge Gbagbo to make a peaceful exit.

The warning was later rejected by Gbagbo.

A post-election crisis marked by violence and killings has been witnessed in Cote d'Ivoire since the end of the presidential run- off on Nov. 28.

The country finds itself with two governments after opposition leader Alassane Ouattara and Gbagbo were sworn in as presidents and named a prime minister on either side.

The United Nations, the African Union and ECOWAS have all thrown their support behind Ouattara, who was declared president by the country's Independent Electoral Commission (CEI) to the detriment of Gbagbo, who was declared the winner by the Constitutional Council.


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