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Chairman Kerry On Cote d’Ivoire: Former President Gbagbo Must Step Aside

Washington, DC – Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry (D-MA) issued the following statement today in response to the deteriorating situation in Cote d’Ivoire:

“I’m gravely concerned about the escalating violence in Cote d’Ivoire, particularly the accounts of alleged atrocities in the western part of the country.  The people elected Alassane Ouattara as their next President and the result was certified by the international community, including the African Union and the United Nations.  The time has come for Laurent Gbagbo to step aside and allow for the reunification, reconstruction, and reconciliation that is needed for a stable Cote d’Ivoire.  Hundreds of people have been killed and as many as a million have fled their homes. Both sides must protect civilians and follow international human rights standards.  The United Nations has not stood idly by as events in Cote d’Ivoire have unfolded -- it maintains a peacekeeping force of over 9000 troops and police in the country --  but it too must do more to carry out its civilian protection mandate.”