Gbagbo snubs AU mediation
Abidjan - Ivory Coast strongman Laurent Gbagbo will skip African Union-hosted talks with his rival for the presidency, his party said on Tuesday in a new snub to efforts to end an increasingly bloody dispute.
Gbagbo would not attend Thursday's talks with Alassane Ouattara as he wants to stay in the Ivory Coast "because of the deterioration of the domestic security situation", his Ivorian Popular Front (FPI) party said.
Gbagbo has resisted international demands, sanctions and other pressure to hand over to Ouattara who is internationally recognised to have won elections in November.
Instead, party leader Pascal Affi N'Guessan and Gbagbo Foreign Minister Alcide Djedje had left for Addis Ababa to attend the meeting at the African Union headquarters, party public relations official Eric Ane told AFP.
The African Union invited the rivals to talks in its latest bid to end a dispute that has deteriorated into the worst conflict since clashes in 2004, with 370 people killed since mid-December, according to UN figures.