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UN recognizes Ouattara as Ivory Coast president

The pressure on Laurent Gbagbo to hand over power in the Ivory Coast has increased. The UN General Assembly has recognized his rival Alassane Ouattara as the west African country’s new leader.

Alassane Ouattara

Alassane Ouattara was sworn in as president on December 4, but so too was his rival

The United Nations General Assembly recognized Alassane Ouattara as the legitimate president of Ivory Coast late Thursday.

The 192-national General Assembly unanimously accepted Youssouf Bamba, the envoy sent by Ouattara to New York, as the Ivory Coast's new UN ambassador.

The list of diplomats Ouattara submitted to the world body has been accepted as the sole official representatives of Ivory Coast.

Accreditation has been withdrawn from the country's previous ambassador, Alcide Djedje, who was appointed by incumbent president Laurent Gbagbo.

Gbagbo has refused to cede power since a presidential election on November 28, which both he and challenger Ouattara claimed to have won.

Funds cut off

Earlier on Thursday, the UN Human Rights Council denounced the abductions, sexual violence and extra-judicial killings which have taken place during post-election unrest.

Supporters of opposition candidate Alassane Ouattara take to the streets of Abidjan, Ivory Coast, December 16 2010

170 people are thought to have died in post-election unrest

A special meeting of the council urged "all the relevant parties to immediately put an end to all human rights violations in Cote d'Ivoire and to fully respect all human rights and fundamental freedoms."

Ouattara was initially declared the winner by the country's electoral commission and has been recognized as the rightful president in the international community.

The West African economic union (ECOWAS) announced on Thursday that its central bank was blocking funds to Gbagbo, and access would only be given to Ouattara's "legitimate government."

Leaders from ECOWAS are meeting on Friday for emergency talks on Ivory Coast. During their first special summit this month, the west African country was suspended from the bloc and it called on Gbagbo to give up power.

Author: Thomas Sheldrick (Reuters, dpa, afp)
Editor: Rob Turner

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