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"Gbagbo must go," France and western partners agree

Remarks to the press by Mr Gérard Araud, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations:

We have just adopted unanimously resolution 1975. I want to insist first on the unanimity and second point that it was negotiated very quickly since it was tabled on Friday and was adopted today.

This sense of urgency is obvious since the confrontation is extending in Côte d’Ivoire and the situation is worsening by the hour.

In a sense, this resolution is maybe the last message that we wanted to send to Gbagbo which is very simple: Gbagbo must go.

It is the only way to avoid a full fledged civil war and maybe bloody violence in the streets of Abidjan.

This resolution is saying:

— first Gbagbo must go.

— It also says that UNOCI will implement its mandate in the most robust way and, in particular, as President Sarkozy has requested, to prevent the use of heavy weapons in Abidjan, because you know that the Gbagbo people have used heavy mortars in Abidjan against civilian population.

— The resolution imposes targeted sanctions against Gbagbo and the first circle. I think that, maybe more than the sanctions themselves, it is a political signal which is sent to this small group. There will be accountability. It is not only on a political crisis, there will be judicial follow up if they don’t give up.

— It recalls in this respect that the atrocities which are committed may constitute a crime against humanity and that the International Criminal Court may have to deal with this crime.

— I think also, as I told you in different circumstances, there is a new reference to the Responsibility to Protect, which is a concept which is dear to the French.

To summarize, the situation on the ground is very fluid. Yamoussoukro has fallen. Maybe in the coming hours or the coming days, the confrontation will move to Abidjan. So we do hope that our message will be heard by the Gbagbo people, they will accept the decision of the African union, the decision of the ECOWAS and the Security Council and they will open the negotiation which will allow first of course President Ouattara to be the full President of Côte d’Ivoire and also the creation of a national unity government.

Thank you.

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