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The Chairperson of the Commission of the African Union (AU), Dr. Jean Ping, follows closely the current situation in Côte d’Ivoire, marked by military operations conducted under the authority of the internationally‐recognized President of the Republic in order to consolidate legality on the entire Ivorian territory.

The Chairperson of the Commission recalls the efforts made by the AU, in close cooperation with ECOWAS, the United Nations and other partners, to find a peaceful solution to the crisis that broke out in the aftermath of the second round of the presidential election of 28 November 2010, on the basis of strict respect for the will of Ivorians who have chosen Mr. Alassane Dramane Ouattara as the President of the Republic. In particular, these efforts culminated in the proposals made by the AU High‐Level Panel for the Resolution of the Crisis in Côte d’Ivoire, endorsed on 10 March 2011 by the 265th meeting of the AU Peace and Security Council (PSC), held at the level of Heads of State and Government, which, at the same time, directed that negotiations be convened between the Ivorian parties to agree on the modalities for the implementation of these proposals.

The Chairperson of the Commission deeply regrets that the refusal by the outgoing President, Mr. Laurent Gbagbo, to accept these proposals, to which President Ouattara has formally adhered to, as well as his rejection of all other initiatives aimed at ending the crisis, have not made it possible to speedily complete the implementation of a peaceful solution to the crisis that would have spared the Ivoirians the additional suffering being visited upon them today. He urges Mr. Gbagbo to immediately hand over power to President Alassane Dramane Ouattara, in order to shorten the suffering of the Ivorians.

On its part, the African Union will continue, in close coordination with ECOWAS and other partners, to work with the President of the Republic, Mr. Alassane Ouattara, and other stakeholders, to promote genuine national reconciliation among all Ivorians, the deepening of democracy and the consolidation of peace.

The Chairperson of the Commission reiterates the imperative of protecting the civilian population and the obligations of all parties in this respect, as provided for by international humanitarian law, including access of humanitarian actors to civilian populations in need. He encourages UNOCI, within the framework of the relevant resolutions of the UN Security Council, in particular resolution 1975 (2011), to vigorously implement its mandate to protect civilians.