UN says it won't leave Ivory Coast

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Monday, December 20, 2010

The United Nations and French peacekeeping forces say they will not leave the Ivory Coast despite orders from incumbent president Laurent Gbagbo to leave the country.

Secretary General of the UN Ban Ki-moon said in a statement that the UN in the Ivory Coast will "fulfill its mandate and will continue to monitor and document any human rights violations, incitement to hatred and violence, or attacks on U.N. peacekeepers." He also called the orders for all peacekeeping troops to leave the nation irrelevant and without effect, adding that the UN does not believe Gbagbo is the legal president.

"The president-elect is Ouattara and he hasn't asked us to leave," added the UN.

Saturday, Gbagbo called for all French and UN peacekeeping troops to leave the country. A government spokesperson said Saturday, "the government demands the departure of the UNOCI and LICORNE [French] forces in Ivory Coast and is opposed to any renewal of their mandate. [The] UNOCI has interfered seriously in the internal affairs of Ivory Coast." The government added it would defend the nation's sovereignty and that next Friday "the total liberation of Ivory Coast [begins]."