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Ban reiterates concern over Côte d'Ivoire crisis at meeting with West African officials

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today in Addis Ababa met with a delegation of the Economic Commission of West African States (ECOWAS) and underlined his deep concern over the continuing post-election crisis in Côte d''Ivoire and the deadlock''s impact on security and development prospects for the country.

At the meeting with the delegation, which comprised Henry Ajumogobia, the Foreign Minister of Nigeria, and James Victor Gbeho, the President of the ECOWAS Commission, Mr. Ban commended the West African bloc for its efforts to find a peaceful solution to the political uncertainty in Côte d''Ivoire and thanked the organization for its leadership on the issue.

“The Secretary-General stressed the importance for the United Nations, ECOWAS and the African Union to preserve their principled and unified position,” said a statement issued by the spokesperson of the Secretary-General.

Mr. Ban also welcomed the decision by the African Union Peace and Security Council to reaffirm previous decisions of ECOWAS and the African Union and reiterate its support for the work of the UN.

He expressed his willingness to work closely with a High-Level Panel, to be established by the African Union, for the resolution of the crisis in Côte d''Ivoire.

Côte d''Ivoire has been in turmoil since early December when outgoing President Laurent Gbagbo refused leave office despite opposition leader Alassane Ouattara''s UN-certified victory in November''s run-off election.

Mr. Ouattara, who has set up base in the Golf Hotel in Abidjan, has been recognized by the international community as the West African country''s duly elected president.

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