New York: Ivory Coast`s new UN ambassador said on Wednesday that an increasingly dangerous tug-of-war over the presidency is pushing the West African country to `the brink of genocide`.
Veteran diplomat Youssoufou Bamba said he`s already consulting with members of the new Security Council before its first meeting next week about ways to help president-elect Alassane Ouattara assume power.
Laurent Gbagbo, the incumbent, refuses to step down although the world recognises Ouattara as the winner of recent elections.
“I intend to meet with all 15 members” of the new council, Bamba told reporters shortly after presenting his diplomatic credentials to Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon.
He noted that at least 173 people already have been killed “only because they want to demonstrate, they want to speak out, they want to defend the will of the people”. “That`s one of the messages I`m trying to get across in the consultations I`ve conducted so far, to tell them we are on the brink of genocide,” Bamba said. “Something should be done.”
He implied that Ouattara supporters, whose strongholds are largely in the north, could be targeted by Gbagbo backers, saying: “If houses are being marked according to your tribe, what is going to be next?”