Blue Helmet Bombers: UN attack in Ivory Coast ‘hard blow to image’ – RT News
Russia wants an explanation from the UN over its use of force in Ivory Coast, which is currently gripped by civil conflict. Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has questioned if it was legal for international peacekeepers to support one of the presidential claimants. UN and French troops bombarded targets around the residence of incumbent president Laurent Gbagbo in the city of Abidjan. The UN says its raids were carried out to protect civilians.
Russia questions legitimacy of UN troop actions in the Ivory Coast
RT News, April 5, 2011
The situation in Cote d’Ivoire also remains critical as the violent standoff between supporters of incumbent President Gbagbo and those of his rival Alassane Ouattara continues to bring the West African state to the very brink of a civil war. Gbagbo is refusing to yield power to Ouattara, who is believed to have won the disputed presidential election last year, and has been recognized by the UN.
Meanwhile, according to earlier reports, UN peacekeeping forces and the supporting French contingent have joined the combat operation in the former French colony on the side of Ouattara.
Commenting on the matter, Sergey Lavrov said that Russia asked for verification from the UN as to why the peacekeepers are using force. He pointed out that their mandate obliged them to stay neutral and unbiased. Moscow has also requested an unprecedented UN Security Council briefing to discuss the matter.
“So far we have not received very clear answers to our questions,” Lavrov added.
The Russian Foreign Minister described the situation in the Ivory Coast as very tense, adding that Moscow is extremely concerned about the events.
“The situation there is not improving, but getting worse,” he observed, adding that there are reports of mass casualties among civilians.
There are several Russian citizens in Cote d’Ivoire, and the foreign ministry is considering ways of providing for their safety, including possible evacuation.
The situation on the African continent became one of the key topics discussed by the Russian and Gabonese top diplomats during their meeting in Moscow. Both parties “call for a swift end to the bloodshed so that civilians do not suffer,” Lavrov told journalists after the talks. He stressed that all the problems must be resolved by Africans themselves, without external interference.