21 Dec 2010

UN powers urge Ivory Coast leader to stand down

8:30 pm on 21 December 2010

The United Nations Security Council has issued a direct challenge to Laurent Gbagbo, urging him to stand down as President of Ivory Coast.

Alassane Ouattara is widely recognised as the rightful winner of last month's presidential election but Mr Gbagbo is refusing to step aside.

The Security Council has also voted unanimously to extend its peacekeeping mission in Ivory Coast for six months, despite a call by Mr Gbagbo for it to withdraw.

The European Union agreed on Monday to impose a travel ban on Mr Gbagbo that will also apply to his wife and 17 close allies.

President Nicolas Sarkozy of France has given Mr Gbagbo a deadline of Sunday to step down or face sanctions.