Washington: US President Barack Obama
on Tuesday asked Ivory Coast`s beleaguered leader Laurent Gbagbo to
stand down immediately to put an end to violence in his
country while appealing for restraint from all parties.
Strongly supporting the role that United Nations
peacekeepers are playing as they enforce their mandate to
protect civilians, he also welcomed the efforts of the French
forces who are supporting the mission.
"Tragically, the violence that we are seeing could
have been averted had Laurent Gbagbo respected the results of
last year`s presidential election," Obama said.
"To end this violence and prevent more bloodshed,
former President Gbagbo must stand down immediately, and
direct those who are fighting on his behalf to lay down their
arms," he said in a statement.
He said the persisting violence will bring more
suffering to the people of Cote D`Ivoire, while welcoming the
internationally recognised president Alassane Ouattara`s
pledge to ensure accountability for those who have carried out
attacks against civilians.
"Meanwhile, the United States will continue to support
a future in which Laurent Gbagbo stands down, and President
Outarra and the government of Cote D`Ivoire can move beyond
this current crisis and serve all of the Ivorian people," he
Obama said the people of Cote D`Ivoire have suffered a
lot throughout this period of unrest.
"The United States joins with the international
community in our deep concern about reports of massacres in
the western region of the country, and the dangers faced by
innocent civilians particularly the most vulnerable," he