A French military tank patrols the streets of the main city in the West African state of Ivory Coast. Paris is backing the rebel leader Alassane Ouattara who is attempting to oust incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Russia slams UN, France on Ivory Coast
Thu Apr 7, 2011 5:22PM
Russia has criticized France and the United Nations peacekeeping forces for their military interference in the recent post-election conflict in Ivory Coast.
The Russian foreign ministry said French and UN forces were "involved in an internal conflict, acting in defense of one side when they had to observe neutrality and be acting in strict accordance with their (UN) mandate," the New Age daily reported on Thursday.
The statement released by the Russian foreign ministry suggested that the UN and France were potentially in violation of international law by launching a sided military campaign in a bid to remove strongman Laurent Gbagbo from power.
"It is necessary to understand the legal aspects of UN peacekeepers and the French contingent" in Ivory Coast, the statement read.
Russia expressed doubt that the latest military interference would bring about genuine democracy in the nation and said the conflict needed to be resolved "with the help of other African nations."
Deadly violence erupted in the West African country after a disputed presidential election in November. While Alassane Ouattara has been largely recognized by the international community as the winner, Gbagbo refuses to cede power.
Tensions further escalated after both sides claimed victory and appointed separate cabinets.
Several hundred people have been killed in recent violence while up to a million have been displaced, according to UN reports.
Gbagbo was elected in 2000, postponed polls due in 2005 several times and finally allowed them to go ahead last year, only to reject the result issued by the election authority and backed by the United Nations.