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UN should not take sides in I.Coast: Medvedev

by Staff Writers
Sanya, China (AFP) April 14, 2011
The United Nations should be impartial in the crisis in Ivory Coast, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said Thursday, saying any move to exceed its mandate would set a dangerous precedent.

"The UN should mediate between the sides and under no circumstances help one of the sides," Medvedev told reporters after a summit with the leaders of Brazil, India, China and South Africa -- the so-called BRICS nations.

"We have rather serious questions for the UN leadership."

The United Nations has more than 9,000 troops and police in Ivory Coast, where internationally-recognised President Alassane Ouattara and his strongman predecessor Laurent Gbagbo have been locked in a power struggle for months.

Ouattara has now assumed office after Gbagbo was captured. UN and French forces had attacked positions of troops loyal to Gbagbo in a bid to destroy heavy weapons that were being used against civilians.

Medvedev acknowledged that both sides -- forces loyal to Ouattara and Gbagbo -- were responsible for the violence, so the UN should not choose a side.

"(UN) resolutions should be implemented, there should be no efforts to exceed the mandate. This is by the way a very dangerous tendency," the Russian president said.

Hundreds have been killed in western Ivory Coast after forces loyal to Ouattara swept through the country to the main city Abidjan earlier this month to oust Gbagbo, who had refused to admit defeat in a November vote.

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