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Ban, in Kenya, wants Gbagbo out

NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 31- The United Nations on Thursday renewed its calls to embattled Ivory Coast President Laurent Ggagbo asking him to cede power to Alassane Ouattara.

Speaking in Nairobi after inaugurating a new eco-friendly building at the UN headquarters, Secretary General Ban Ki Moon said that the incumbent had no choice but to step down and prevent further loss of lives.

Mr Ban added that although the UN had sanctioned travel bans against Mr Ggagbo, it would not use force to remove him from office.

“The will of the people in Ivory Coast has already been demonstrated through the election in November. There is no point in forcing or not forcing him out. He has to step down,” he said.

He added that the UN Security Council had on Wednesday passed a new resolution which would strengthen its role as a peace keeper in the West African country. He urged the international community to remain firm and decisive while dealing with the world’s top cocoa producer.

“This is exactly why the African Union as well as the Security Council have reaffirmed their previous decisions that in Cote d’Ivoire the legitimately chosen leader is Mr Oattara and Mr Ggabgo should cede power his successor,” he said.

Mr Ban also criticised the Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi for refusing to cede power. He argued that the ongoing instability and violence in the country were unwarranted.

He said that the UN would continue protecting the lives of both the Ivorian and Libyan people and also ensure that the countries did not fall into a civil war.

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“We are working very hard and of course the situation is terrible and very serious but let me also ask colonel Gaddafi to stop killing people and to stop fighting them,” he said.

The Secretary General further challenged African leaders and civil societies to play their respective roles in ensuring that the continent remained stable. He noted that the situation in Somalia was dire adding that the youths in the country needed “a sense of hope”.

He argued that with increased education and employment opportunities for the youths, the prevalence rates of criminal acts such as piracy would decline.

“We need to provide for our youths so that we don’t see a repeat of the events we have witnessed in Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Ivory Coast and Somalia. We need to ask ourselves how we can support the Somali people in developing themselves,” he said.

Libya has been in turmoil since February after popular movements in Tunisia and Egypt over threw their leaders. The youthful movements in Libya also want Colonel Gaddafi to step down accusing his government of misusing power and running the country down.

But their protests have been met with defiance from Colonel Muammar who is alleged to have ordered his armies to open fire on any demonstrators and civilians.

Mr Ban also lauded efforts made by Kenya in achieving its reform agenda.

He further noted that the fate of Kenya’s motion to seek a deferral of her ICC cases lay at the hands of the Security Council.

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