AU mediator arrives in Côte d'Ivoire, Sarkozy urges Gbagbo to quit
The head of the African Union Commission, Jean Ping, arrived in Côte d'Ivoire Friday in an attempt to mediate the ongoing power-struggle. Meanwhile French president Nicolas Sarkozy has warned incumbent Laurent Gbagbo to step down by the end of the week to avoid sanctions.
Ping travelled directly to the downtown Plateau district, in the capital Abidjan, to meet with those loyal to Gbagbo.
Afterwards he is expected to travel to the Golf Hotel, where opposition candidate Alassane Ouattara is holed up, protected by United Nations peacekeepers.
Meanwhile the United States says it is considering allowing non-emergency embassy staff and their families to leave the country amid increasing violence.
The US, like many others, has backed Ouattara’s claim to the presidency.
Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs Philip Crowley said the US is supporting mediation efforts by the African Union and Ecowas, the Economic Community Of West African States, that aim to persuade Gbagbo to step down.
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