29 Dec 2010

West African leaders meet Ivory Coast incumbent

10:07 am on 29 December 2010

Talks have taken place in Ivory Coast, where three West African heads of state are trying to persuade incumbent leader Laurent Gbagbo to step down.

The United Nations, the European Union, the United States, the African Union and the Ecowas regional group all say that he lost the presidential election on 28 November.

The delegation has said that if he does not relinquish power, he could be forced out by military intervention.

Afterwards, President Boni Yayi of Benin said on Tuesday that the talks went well. He declined to give further details.

He and President Ernest Bai Koroma of Sierra Leone and President Pedro Pires of Cape Verde then went on to meet opposition leader Alassane Ouattara, who has set up a shadow government.

He is being protected by United Nations forces.

The election was meant to unite the country after a civil war in 2002.

Govt statement

Mr Gbagbo's government says it will cut diplomatic ties with any country that recognises ambassadors named by Mr Ouattara.