The United Kingdom has welcomed the “strong stance” of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on the political turmoil in Cote d’Ivoire.

The Foreign Secretary, Mr William Hague, said that ECOWAS had “sent a clear and unequivocal message that Cote d’Ivoire’s neighbours are determined to uphold democratic principles and to take robust action against those that seek to frustrate the will of the majority”.

“The UK welcomes the strong stance taken by the Economic Community of West African States on the situation in Cote d’Ivoire”, he said in a statement released at the British High Commission in Accra.

Mr Hague said: “The UN has validated the results announced by the Independent Electoral commission, confirming that Mr Alassane Ouattara had won the elections. The ECOWAS Summit has resoundingly reinforced this position.”

“Swift and concerted international action is needed to encourage a peaceful outcome. The UK will continue to engage closely with African and other international partners in support of a resolution that respects the will of the Ivorian people,” he stated.

ECOWAS leaders who met in Abuja, Nigeria, on Tuesday issued a communiqué in which they said they recognised opposition leader Alassane Ouattara as the president-elect of Cote d’Ivoire in a disputed run-off election.

They called on incumbent president Laurent Gbagbo to hand over power to Ouattara.

The ECOWAS leaders stressed that the will of the Ivorian people must be respected.

The Independent Electoral Commission declared Ouattara as winner of the 28 November vote, but the Constitutional Council reversed the verdict and gave victory to Gbagbo, who has ruled the country for the past 10 years.

Source: GNA

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