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Ivory Coast at a standstill, U.S. says

Feb. 8, 2011 at 1:21 PM

WASHINGTON, Feb. 8 (UPI) -- The Ivory Coast is at a standstill as negotiations to end a post-election political stalemate are locked in place, the U.S. envoy to the country said.

Incumbent Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo has refused to hand over power to Alassane Ouattara despite a U.N. Security Council resolution recognizing Ouattara as the winner of last year's presidential contest.

The election was meant to unite a country divided into rebel-held north and a pro-government south.

"It has not happened as a result of the refusal by President Gbagbo," said Phillip Carter, the U.S. envoy to the Ivory Coast, in statements to reporters.

The situation in the Ivory Coast has turned violent in the wake of the election. U.N. officials said they were able to certify that at least 250 people were summarily executed by forces loyal to Ggabgo and hundreds of others have disappeared.

African leaders have been leading negotiations to end the stalemate, though Carter described the situation as "tense." U.N. officials said the conditions were ripe for genocide and African leaders said they would consider force to pressure Gbagbo to step aside.

"Where they have urged President Gbagbo to seek an honorable, peaceful exit to effect a transition that can move the country forward, he has resisted those offers," said Carter.

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