Nigeria urges firmer UN stance on Ivory Coast

Wed Mar 23, 2011 5:19pm GMT

By Joe Brock

ABUJA (Reuters) - Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan urged the United Nations on Wednesday to take more decisive action to end a political crisis in Ivory Coast, saying instability posed a threat to the security of West Africa.

Meanwhile, Angola said its position was in line with that of the African Union, which has endorsed Alassane Ouattara as the top cocoa grower's elected president despite incumbent Laurent Gbagbo's refusal to step down after a November 28 poll.

Opening a summit of heads of state from regional West African bloc ECOWAS, Jonathan said he hoped the standoff in the former French colony could be solved without the use of force but urged the world body to take firmer steps.

"I believe we can pass a resolution to request the United Nations to take a little more serious steps in the Cote d'Ivoire situation," he said at a the meeting attended by 12 of the 15 ECOWAS heads of state.

"We must not make the mistake of underestimating the threat it poses to the peace and security of the entire sub-region."

He did not spell out what stronger action he wanted the world body to take.

Nigeria is the linchpin of ECOWAS, which has threatened the use of force to push Gbagbo from power after he rejected U.N.-certified results that showed Ouattara won the election.

Around 400 Ivorians have died and hundreds of thousands have fled their homes since the disputed poll.   Continued...

<p>Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan waves to the crowd as he leaves a campaign rally in Kano, northern Nigeria, March 16, 2011. REUTERS/Joe Penney</p>
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