UN backs Alassane Ouattara as Côte d'Ivoire's president
The UN Security Council on Wednesday released a statement saying opposition candidate Alassane Ouattara was winner of Côte d'Ivoire’s bitterly contested presidential election.
The council's declaration gave an international seal of recognition for Ouattara and increased pressure on incumbent Laurent Gbagbo to step down.
Amid the tensions over the country's first election since a 2002 civil war, the Security Council warned that it was ready to take sanctions against anyone who threatens Côte d'Ivoire’s peace process.
The United Nations, African Union, the West African regional group ECOWAS, United States, European Union and leading financial institutions have all now called Ouattara as winner of the November 28 runoff vote against Gbagbo.
Gbagbo, who has been president since 2000, has shown no sign that he will concede defeat, having unveiled his own new cabinet, whilst he continues to occupy the presidential palace in Abidjan.
Ouattara's prime minister Guillaume Soro said in a statement "It is we who have the power. It is now a matter of bringing it into effect".
Soro has warned that several thousand New Forces troops could be mobilised if Gbagbo does not give in. But he stressed: "We are not yet at the stage of using force".
In a warning to Gbagbo's camp, Security Council members said they "condemn in the strongest possible terms any effort to subvert the popular will of the people or undermine either the integrity of the electoral process or the free and fair elections" in Côte d'Ivoire.