Sarkozy urges Gbagbo to step down before the end of the week “
LEMONDE.FR with AFP and Reuters | 17.12.10 | 1:06 p.m.
Nicolas Sarkozy has raised his voice against Laurent Gbagbo , Friday, December 17, otherwise Gbagbo will appear on the list of persons targeted by sanctions of the European Union.
“Laurent Gbagbo and his wife have their destiny in their hands. If before the end of the week there – Laurent Gbagbo – who has not left his position in violation of the will of the Ivorian people, they will be named in the list of sanctions ” , said the French president at a press conference on the sidelines of an EU summit in Brussels.
“What is happening in Cote d’Ivoire is completely unacceptable (…) , elections were held under UN control, they have been validated by the UN. Better yet, all African states have recognized the election of Alassane Ouattara ” , described Mr Sarkozy. “In violation of the will of the Ivorian people, who had been deprived of election for ten years, Mr. Gbagbo remains in power, his followers take it/ That people should have been killed in the streets of Abidjan yesterday was a scandal ” , hammered the French president.
“It is up to him [Laurent Gbagbo] to choose what image he wants to leave in history. If he wants to leave the image of a man of peace, there is still time but time is short and he must go ” , Sarkozy said. “Or is it that he wants to leave the image of someone who shoots perfectly innocent civilians? And, in this case, there are international courts and a criminal court [international]
The Attorney of the [ICC] has himself indicated that he has looked very closely at the situation and that those who had been shot would have to be accounted for ” , said Mr. Sarkozy. ” There is no alternative for Mr. Gbagbo but to leave promptly — or else he usurps power ” , he said, indicating that his position was shared by the European Union, the Security Council UN and U.S..
According to diplomatic sources in Brussels, the EU is preparing a list of eighteen or nineteen names, mostly of those close to Laurent Gbagbo, who will be subject to sanctions such as freezing assets and visa restrictions.
The placement of the Ivorian leader himself on the list was still being debated on Thursday, according to European diplomats. This list should be decided on Monday by the Permanent Representatives of twenty-seven European governments, according to these diplomats.
Asked about the situation of French nationals in Ivory Coast, Nicolas Sarkozy said “we will ensure their security” , without giving details. “The concern is that the Ivorians have the right to have the president that they elected, that’s what counts and that’s what we try to implement for them ” , he concluded.
The EU calls on the Ivorian army to be placed under the authority of Alassane Ouattara
In a statement adopted at a summit in Brussels, leaders of the countries of the European Union called on “all the Ivorian leaders, both civilian and military, who have not yet done so, to place themselves under the authority of the democratically elected president, Alassane Ouattara ” .
The Heads of State and Government recalled that the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, has warned that he would launch legal action against anyone responsible for deadly violence in Côte d’Ivoire. And they reaffirmed “the EU’s determination to take targeted measures against those who would continue to prevent compliance with the expressed will of the Ivorian people” .