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African Delegation Returns To Ivory Coast To Try To Resolve Crisis

Four African leaders have arrived in Ivory Coast in the latest attempt to resolve the country's political crisis following November's hotly disputed presidential election.

The presidents of Benin, Sierra Leone, and Cape Verde and Kenya's prime minister were expected to urge Laurent Gbabgo to hand over power to his rival, Allasane Ouattara, the man widely recognized abroad as the winner of the vote.

The 15-member Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) last week warned that Gbagbo could face military intervention if he did not step down.

The election highlighted north-south divisions in Ivory Coast eight years after a civil war split the country into the mainly Muslim north, which backs Ouattara, and the Christian south, which backs Gbabgo.

compiled from agency reports