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S. Africa backs AU decision on Ouattara

CAPE TOWN, Mar 18 – South Africa supports the African Union decision to recognise Alassane Ouattara as the winner of Ivory Coast\’s elections, President Jacob Zuma told parliament on Thursday.

Ouattara was declared by Ivory Coast\’s electoral commission the winner of the November 28 presidential run-off, but incumbent Laurent Gbagbo rejected the results and had himself sworn in as president despite an international outcry.

Their standoff has turned increasingly violent and threatens to degenerate into full-scale civil war.

"South Africa fully supports the position taken by the African Union on March 10, namely that Mr Ouattara is recognised as the winner, which is a reaffirmation of the position of ECOWAS," the West African regional grouping, Zuma told parliament.

"We also support the AU\’s quest to find a peaceful political solution to the current crisis," he said.

"We are all of one mind on the way forward towards a sustainable political solution."

Zuma is part of a five-person AU panel — also including the leaders of Mauritania, Tanzania, Chad and Burkina Faso — tasked with mediating in the crisis.

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