Ban Ki-moon says UN not party to Ivory Coast conflict

By REUTERS
April 4, 2011 23:54

 
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UNITED NATIONS - Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Monday the United Nations was not a party to the conflict in Ivory Coast despite having opened fire on one of incumbent leader Laurent Gbagbo's military bases.

Two UN attack helicopters fired missiles at a pro-Gbagbo military camp in the main city Abidjan in what the world body said was an effort to protect civilians against heavy weapons. The attack came as fighters backing presidential claimant Alassane Ouattara poured into Abidjan to try to depose Gbagbo.

The United Nations and African organizations say Ouattara defeated Gbagbo in a presidential election last November but Gbagbo says he won and has refused to cede power.

In a statement, Ban said he had instructed the UN peacekeeping mission in Ivory Coast "to take the necessary measures to prevent the use of heavy weapons against the civilian population," with the support of French forces.

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