Sumario: 3 March 2011, Brussels - Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the Commission, made the following statement today on Côte d'Ivoire:
"Today, the forces of Laurent Gbagbo opened fire on a peaceful demonstration in Abidjan, killing seven unarmed women who were making use of their right to express their support of the legitimate President, Alassane Ouattara. We firmly condemn those killings in the strongest possible terms, express our deepest sympathy for the victims and their families, and urge Laurent Gbagbo to refrain from any further violence, and to hand over power rapidly to the elected President. The Ivorian people
have democratically chosen their government and it should not be impeded from assuming office. We urge all involved in acts of violence or incitation to hatred to stop immediately such unacceptable actions.
We also condemn the deteriorating rule of law, characterized by illegal nationalizations of banks and arbitrary expropriations of money and property carried out by Laurent Gbagbo.
The EU remains firmly committed to support the African-led efforts to ensure respect for the election results. We have repeatedly called on Mr Gbagbo to stand down swiftly and peacefully and accept the will of the Ivorian people who have elected Alassane Ouattara as President. EU sanctions, adopted in support of African actions, will remain in place until ex-President Gbagbo accepts the results of the elections and hands over power to the legitimate president. The EU stresses the importance of maintaining the unity of the International Community and the United Nations in supporting Democracy in Ivory Coast.
Laurent Gbagbo and those who support him must remember that they will be held accountable for the consequences of their actions and for any violations of human rights for which they are responsible, including at the appropriate national or international justice systems. I, therefore, urge the United Nations Human Rights Council to intensify the monitoring of human rights in order for the perpetrators to be brought to justice and the UNOCI to implement fully its mandate to protect civilian populations."