AU should tell Gbagbo to go: US official
Nairobi - An African heads of state panel tasked with finding a way out of Ivory Coast's protracted leadership crisis should ask strongman Laurent Gbagbo to leave power, a top US official said on Thursday.
The African Union last week set up the five-member panel to deliver binding resolutions within a month to Gbagbo and Alassane Ouattara, the internationally recognised winner of the disputed November 28 elections.
"Our position is very clear, which is that we believe that Mr Ouattara won the election and should be the leader of the country," US Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg told reporters in Nairobi.
"We hope that the new mission of the AU leaders can make clear to former president Gbagbo that that is the universal view and that the time has come for him to step aside and that is what we support," he added.
A top Gbagbo ally on Tuesday said Burkina Faso's President Blaise Campaore, who is among the panel's five heads of state, was not welcome in Ivory Coast
Other members are presidents of Chad, South Africa, Mauritania and Tanzania.
The panel members are to travel to Ivory Coast at a yet undetermined date to submit their proposals to the rival leaders.