FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Today, the United Nations Operation in Cote d’Ivoire (UNOCI), with the support of French forces, undertook a military operation to protect innocent civilians from escalating violence in the city of Abidjan. UN Security Council Resolution 1975, adopted unanimously, clearly reaffirms UNOCI’s mandate to use all necessary measures to protect civilians. In recent days, peacekeepers have been attacked repeatedly and Ivorian civilians have been targeted by heavy weaponry such as rocket-propelled grenades, heavy machine guns and mortars, a shameful consequence of former President Laurent Gbagbo’s continued illegitimate claim to the presidency of Cote d’Ivoire.
The United States condemns the continuing violence against innocent civilians and peacekeepers in Cote d’Ivoire and strongly supports robust efforts by UNOCI to fulfill its mandate. The United States deplores all abuses of human rights and demands that those responsible be held accountable. It is past time for former President Gbagbo to step down, so that the Ivorian people have the government they chose freely, and so that their country is once again peaceful and whole.
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