Gbagbo 'must go for Africa's sake'
Davos - If Laurent Gbagbo were to stay in power in Ivory Coast despite losing a presidential election, it would be a setback for the whole of Africa, former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said on Wednesday.
Annan, a Ghanaian who has mediated in many African conflicts, said the result of the December election appeared clear and almost everyone accepted the UN-certified outcome that former prime minister Alessane Ouattara had won.
"Except for Gbagbo and his group, everyone accepts the results as they came out," Annan said at the World Economic Forum in Davos. "If he were to prevail, it would be a real setback for Africa."
Gbagbo says he won after the constitutional council packed with his supporters annulled many ballots cast in northern areas where Ouattara has strong support.
The outcome of the month-old standoff in Abidjan would depend largely on whether the African Union and Ivory Coast's west African neighbours remained united and stood firm in demanding that Gbagbo must go, Annan said.
"I believe they will probably end up having discussions, but the basic position that he lost and must move on will be sustained by the African countries," he added.
Former UN official Louise Arbour, president of the International Crisis Group think-tank, said what happened in Ivory Coast would have an impact on up to 17 elections due to be held in Africa this year.
"To cave into the defiance of the loser of a legitimate election really would be a betrayal on behalf of the whole international community, particularly the United Nations," she said.
The rivals are grappling for control of Ivorian state funds as the world seeks to put financial pressure on Gbagbo to go.