ECOWAS Promises Gbagbo Safe Exit

Published on Tuesday 5th April 2011

The West African bloc ECOWAS says it will ensure that Laurent Gbagbo gets a "safe and dignified exit" if he decides to give up power in Ivory Coast.In a statement Tuesday, ECOWAS renewed its call for the embattled leader to yield power to Alassane Ouattara, who most countries recognize as the winner of last November's election.ECOWAS said Gbagbo should consider the "greater interest of the Ivorian nation," as well as what it called unacceptably high levels of human suffering, death and destruction in Ivory Coast.In Ethiopia, an African Union official reports that Gbagbo may be willing to step down and accept Ouattara as president.Ramtane Lamamra, head of the AU Peace and Security Council, said that was the understanding of Mauritania's president, who he said has been talking to the embattled Ivory Coast leader.Lamamra said a group of AU leaders are ready to fly to Abidjan to help work out a transition of power.For more than three months, Gbagbo has resisted intense pressure from the AU, ECOWAS, and the United Nations to leave office.  The AU and ECOWAS statements Tuesday came as pro-Ouattara forces besieged Gbagbo's few remaining strongholds in Abidjan.
Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.



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