U.S. condemns renewed assault by Gbagbo forces
The United States on Saturday condemned the renewed assault by forces loyal to Cote d'Ivoire's strongman Laurent Gbagbo against his rival's, denouncing his attempts at negotiation as "a ruse to regroup and rearm."
"The United States condemns the renewed assault by forces loyal to former President Gbagbo against the Republican Forces of Cote d' Ivoire, it is clear that Gbagbo's attempts at negotiation this week were nothing more than a ruse to regroup and rearm," U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner said in a statement, Xinhua reported.
Reports said that Gbagbo's forces on Saturday attacked the headquarters of his rival Alassane Ouattara, as the pair are battling for control of the West African state. Gbagbo has refused to step down though Ouattara was widely recognized as the winner in the Nov. 28 presidential runoff, prompting the Republican Forces loyal to Ouattara to launch a military blitz in late March.
The Republican forces took dozens of cities in a matter of days and arrived at the gate of Gbagbo's compound in the commercial capital of Abidjan on Wednesday. With helicopters of UN and French forces joining in the strikes at his rival's side, Gbagbo agreed to negotiate about his exit.
"Gbagbo's continued attempt to force a result that he could not obtain at the ballot box reveals his callous disregard for the welfare of the Ivorian people, who will again suffer amid renewed heavy fighting in Abidjan," Toner said, calling on Gbagbo to cease hostilities and direct his supporters to stand down and surrender.