Paris, April 1, 2011
President Sarkozy has today held a meeting on Côte d’Ivoire with the Prime Minister, the Ministre d’Etat, Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, the Minister for Defence, the Minister for Cooperation, the chief of staff of the Minister of Economy and Finance, and the chief of staff of the armed forces.
France is following ongoing events in Côte d’Ivoire with the utmost vigilance. There is an urgent need to bring about a definitive end to the crisis sparked by Laurent Gbagbo’s refusal to acknowledge his defeat in the second round of the presidential elections held on 28 November 2010.
Those elections had been anticipated for five years. Abiding by its result – President Alassane Ouattara’s victory – is therefore vital to peace and national reconciliation in Côte d’Ivoire, but also to the future of democracy in Africa.
That is why France was spurred into action from the outset of the crisis, to ensure law and democracy prevail. She welcomes the international community’s unanimity regarding this aim. France has always been concerned to act in close consultation with the African organizations, the European Union and the United Nations.
France calls on Laurent Gbagbo, in accordance with UNSCR 1975, to withdraw immediately, end the violence and peacefully yield power to President Ouattara.
France calls on all forces on the ground to respect the safety of the civilian population, both Ivorian and foreign. Those responsible for atrocities will not evade criminal responsibility.
France expresses her full support for the UNOCI forces, with a view to ensuring the safety of the civilian population.
President Sarkozy and the government are particularly attentive to the safety of our citizens. This is the priority of French forces on the ground in Côte d’Ivoire in support of UNOCI.
France is gravely concerned by the country’s economic, social and humanitarian situation, which has deteriorated following four months of violence orchestrated by supporters of Laurent Gbagbo.
The time has come for the entire Ivorian nation to rally around the President it elected and open a new chapter of peace, reconciliation and development. France stands alongside President Ouattara and all Ivorians to meet the most urgent needs of the people and to help the country’s economy recover rapidly./.