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Podcast with US Ambassador Carson on Côte d'Ivoire

Podcast with Ambassador Carson on Côte d'Ivoire

Narrator:

In Washington, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Jo= hnnie Carson told reporters December 9th, that the United States wants = the era of bad elections in Africa to end. Carson called on Ivorian Pre= sident Laurent Gbagbo to act like a statesman and hand over power and a= uthority to Alassane Ouattara, who on November 28th won the second roun= d of C=F4te d'Ivoire's presidential election.

Assistant Secretary of State Johnnie Carson:

It is the determination of the U.S. government to do everything we can = to ensure that the votes of all Ivorians are counted and respected and = that the legitimately elected president of C=F4te d'Ivoire, Alassane Ou= attara, is allowed to take office ... as reflected by the votes.

Narrator:

If a peaceful transfer of power does not happen, the United States will= take further steps such as travel bans and sanctions directed against = President Gbagbo, his family and associates. Carson said the Ivorian pe= ople seek democracy, stability, development and economic opportunity. C= arson also told reporters there is undisputed evidence showing that Ala= ssane Ouattara won.

Assistant Secretary of State Johnnie Carson:

The United Nations, the African Union and the Economic Community of Wes= t African States [ECOWAS] and a number of international organizations o= bserved the elections and said they were 'free and fair' and reflected = the will of the people.

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There was relatively little violence, and so when the votes came to Abi= djan and officials started to say people were unable to cast their ball= ots because of intimidation and violence, this was wrong - because ther= e was no intimidation or violence and everybody had seen that votes had= been cast properly.

We have seen in the case of C=F4te d'Ivoire the value of international = observation and monitoring. We have seen the value of having a third so= urce beyond the two competitors - to be able to certify the legitimacy = of elections. We believe and hope that the era of bad elections [is] ov= er. This should not happen. We hope that President Gbagbo will step asi= de, will do the mature, statesmanlike thing and ... hand over power and= authority to the person who actually won.

Narrator:

Carson told reporters the current African Union president, Malawian Pre= sident Bingu wa Mutharika, has stated that he supports the determinatio= ns of the United Nations and the Economic Community Of West African Sta= tes, or ECOWAS, that Ouattara won. Responding to a question about possi= ble U.S. military intervention, Carson said the United States has no pl= ans to engage or intervene in any way militarily in C=F4te d'Ivoire. Ca= rson said the United States hopes that African voices and African press= ure will be sufficient. Carson voiced support for the actions of ECOWA= S, which has suspended the Ivorian government led by President Gbagbo f= rom participation in its organization. Carson also said he hopes the Af= rican Union will take similar steps.

Assistant Secretary of State Johnnie Carson:

I hope that the statements that have been made by ECOWAS two days ago t= hat said very clearly that Alassane Ouattara had won the election and t= hat Gbagbo had lost would be a signal of the views of the region, that = it is time for Mr. Gbagbo to leave. The U.N. Security Council issued a = presidential statement affirming its support for the report made by the= special representative, Ambassador Choi. It endorsed the ECOWAS statem= ent and we have also seen equally strong statements coming from leaders= in the African Union.

Narrator:

West Africa has great promise and great potential, Carson said. Just as= democracy has returned after five decades in Guinea-Conakry, the Unite= d States believes that it is time for the people of C=F4te d'Ivoire, af= ter a decade of instability, to be allowed to have the democracy that t= hey seek and desire.

Assistant Secretary of State Johnnie Carson:

We think that the era of stealing African elections is over. This shou= ld be an example for all of Africa that this can no longer be tolerated= Theft of elections should not be a part of the democratic process. It= is time for the leadership to allow the economic growth that has been = stalled in C=F4te d'Ivoire to return.

Narrator:

For print versions of articles, multimedia, and subscription informatio= n, visit www.america.gov.

ENDS

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