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UN Vows To Protect President-Elect's Government In Ivory Coast Crisis

Ivory Coast's UN Ambassador Youssoufou Bamba (right) presents his credentials to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at UN headquarters in New York.
UN peacekeepers in Ivory Coast have pledged to defend the government of President-elect Alassane Ouattara and the civilian population, amid high tensions over Laurent Gbagbo's refusal to concede defeat in the presidential election and leave office.

Youssoufou Bamba, the newly appointed Ivory Coast ambassador to the United Nations, spoke to reporters at the United Nations headquarters in New York on December 29.

"One of the messages I try to get across during the conversations I have conducted so far [at the UN], is to tell [that] we are on the brink of genocide, [and that] something should be done," Bamba said.

The UN mission in the Western African state has about 10,000 military and civilian personnel. In another development, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on December 29 received credentials from the new Ivory Coast envoy to the UN appointed by Ouattara.

Ouattara has been internationally recognized as the winner of the country's election last month, and West African countries this week warned they could approve military action if Gbagbo continues to refuse to step down.

Thousands of Ivorians are reported to have fled the country, and more than 170 people have been reported killed as the standoff has escalated.

compiled from agency reports