UN recognizes Ouattara as Ivory Coast’s president

UNITED NATIONS, (Reuters) – The U.N. General  Assembly on Thursday recognized Alassane Ouattara as Ivory  Coast’s legitimate president, after the United Nations said he  beat Laurent Gbagbo in last month’s presidential election.

Alassane Ouattara

The 192-nation General Assembly formally recognized  Ouattara by unanimously deciding that the list of diplomats he  submitted to the world body be recognized as the sole official  representatives of Ivory Coast at the United Nations. The  country’s new U.N. ambassador is Youssouf Bamba.

Gbagbo has refused to quit following a Nov. 28 election  that African countries, Western powers and the United Nations  say was won by challenger Ouattara, sparking a political crisis  that has killed at least 173 people and threatens to reignite  the country’s 2002-2003 civil war.

The move by the United Nations will serve to strengthen  Ouattara’s claim to be the legitimate leader of Ivory Coast and  deepen the isolation of Gbagbo, who has few supporters across  the international community, U.N. diplomats told Reuters.

Gbagbo’s U.N. ambassador, Alcide Djedje, already has left  New York, as have all of his staff, Western diplomats told  Reuters, adding that they had taken computer hard drives from  the Ivory Coast mission with them. Djedje is now Gbagbo’s  foreign minister.

Separately, the U.N. peacekeeping force in Ivory Coast,  known as UNOCI, said it was concerned about “severe violations  of human rights and acts of intimidation” in parts of the  country’s main city Abidjan and in western Ivory Coast.

“These acts include identifying dwellings by marking them  with distinctive signs,” UNOCI said in a statement.

“At night, armed individuals enter people’s residences to  perpetrate abductions or commit other crimes,” UNOCI said.

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