African leaders insist Gbagbo cede power despite talks offer
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Regional bloc Ecowas repeated its demand Tuesday that Côte d'Ivoire's Laurent Gbagbo step down and end the country's political stalemate despite the incumbent’s offer of talks 'without preconditions'.
An aide to Alassane Ouattara, the internationally recognised winner of November's election, accused Gbagbo of stalling and insisted he quit.
"All we're waiting for is for him to go," Ali Coulibaly told the news agency AFP.
"Gbagbo is trying to put people's consciences to sleep. His word has no importance of any kind. We want Gbagbo to go," Coulibaly said.
Following talks with Gbagbo on Monday a group of African leaders said the veteran incumbent had promised that the dispute would be settled peacefully.
"Mr Laurent Gbagbo agreed to negotiate a peaceful end to the crisis without any preconditions," the African Union and Ecowas mediators said in a joint statement.
"He (Gbagbo) also pledged to immediately lift the blockade around Hotel du Golf, the temporary HQ of Mr Alassane Ouattara, the president-elect," it said.
Ecowas stressed that military intervention in Côte d'Ivoire was still an option if talks failed to end the deadlock.
African Union envoy, Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga – who himself became premier as part of a power-sharing agreement after a disputed December 2007 presidential election – ruled out any kind of power-sharing deal.
"I did tell him (Gbagbo) that that option is not available here,” said Odinga.
Similarly the US State Department said no resolution should include a power-sharing arrangement.
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