Ivory Coast ballot recount `grave injustice`: UN chief

Ivory Coast has been gripped by a political crisis sparked by a poll run-off.

Addis Ababa: A recount of Ivory Coast`s disputed Presidential Election would be a "grave injustice”, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said in remarks made public on Sunday in Addis Ababa.

"Reopening the results of the election would be a grave injustice and set an unfortunate precedent," Ban said during a close-door meeting late Saturday in the Ethiopian capital ahead of an African Union summit.

Ivory Coast has been gripped by a political crisis sparked by the disputed November presidential poll run-off which showed incumbent leader Laurent Gbagbo defeated by rival Alassane Ouattara to whom he has refused to relinquish power.

The UN, the African Union and other world powers recognise Ouattara as the winner of those polls and have piled pressure on Gbagbo to leave.

Gbagbo has previously called for a recount, a move rejected by Ouattara, while some African leaders against the use of force to dislodge Gbagbo have also called for an investigation into the disputed polls.

During the two-day Addis Ababa summit, African leaders will seek a common ground to end the Ivorian crisis.

The pan-African body on Friday announced the setting up of a five-member heads of state panel to make binding recommendations on the Ivory Coast rivals.

Ban underlined the importance of a "peaceful and honourable exit" for Gbagbo, and urged "President Ouattara to form a national unity government”.

AU Commission chief Jean Ping said on Saturday the panel would help Ouattara "exercise power" through a negotiated deal.

The AU`s efforts to end the Ivorian crisis and respond to the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt come as it is poised to appoint as its chairman Equatorial Guinea`s President Teodoro Obiang Nguema who himself came to power through a coup in 1979.

The AU has yet to react to the popular revolt in Tunisia where weeks of protests ended the 23-year-old rule of president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

On Saturday, the bloc said it was "concerned" by the political unrest in Egypt which has claimed over 100 lives in five days.

"Egypt is going through a situation which we need to observe. It is a worrying situation," Ping told reporters on Saturday.

"After what happened in Tunisia, we are observing the events elsewhere and we are concerned," he added.

Bureau Report

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