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Rival: Time running out for Ivory Coast's Gbagbo

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast (AP) — For the second time, Ivory Coast's renegade leader rebuffed an appeal from a high-level regional delegation to cede power to the internationally recognized winner of presidential elections, who said the time has come for military intervention.
The leaders from Benin, Cape Verde and Sierra Leone planned to discuss the next step Tuesday in Nigeria with Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, who is the current chairman of the 15-nation West African regional bloc ECOWAS.
They will be making "a comprehensive statement" on their mission after consulting with Jonathan, said Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga, who is serving as the African Union's envoy for the Ivory Coast crisis.
ECOWAS has threatened to use military force to oust Laurent Gbagbo, who has clung to power more than a month after the United Nations said he lost the presidential runoff vote to rival Alassane Ouattara after a decade in power. The delegation's first effort last week to force him into exile failed, and there were no signs that Gbagbo had softened his position in Monday's visit by the three West African presidents and Odinga.
"For us, the discussion is finished," Ouattara said after meeting with the African leaders on Monday. They had presented Gbagbo with an amnesty deal if he steps down. ... ECOWAS will need to use all the means at its disposal including the use of legitimate force so that the president that was elected can assume his functions."

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