Russia calls for diplomatic solution to Ivory Coast crisis

Russia has urged a diplomatic solution to the turmoil in Ivory Coast, saying its citizens should “find a way to national dialogue.”

Forces loyal to the internationally recognized winner of last year’s presidential election, Alassane Ouattara, are besieging the presidential residence in the country’s main city, Abidjan, where incumbent Laurent Gbagbo is holed up and refusing to cede power.

Fighting between the rival presidents’ forces has entered its second week, and concern is growing over the use of UN and French helicopters against Gbagbo’s military.

“We are certain of the need to use only political and diplomatic means,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich told reporters on Thursday.

He condemned the intervention of the UN and French military, saying that “the Africans should sort out their problems themselves.”

“We hope that the hot phase of the armed conflict will soon end, and the citizens of Ivory Coast will be able to find a way to begin national dialogue with the help of other Africans,” he added.

MOSCOW, April 7 (RIA Novosti)

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