Thursday, February 24, 2011

Cote D'ivoire: President-elect alarmed about Wednesday's political violence

A spokesman says Ivory Coast's president-elect Alassane Ouattara is alarmed about Wednesday's political violence in Abidjan.

The spokesman, Minister of Infrastructure Patrich Achi, told VOA that Mr. Ouattara is deeply concerned about the clashes between his supporters and those backing incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo in Abobo.

Witnesses reported hearing rounds of gunfire Wednesday and heavy weapons explosions in the volatile neighborhood, where most residents back Mr. Ouattara.

Mr. Gbagbo has rejected international calls to cede power to Mr. Ouattara, the U.N.-certified winner of a presidential run-off vote in November.

Mr. Gbagbo and Mr. Ouattara met separately with a team of four African heads of state in Abidjan this week, as part of an effort to end the standoff.

The African Union panel will next make a ruling on how the impasse should end. The AU says the panel's decisions will be legally binding. However, the 53-nation bloc has no way of enforcing those decisions.

Voice of America