Canada Condemns Increasing Violence in Côte d’Ivoire

(No. 92 - March 4, 2011 - 8:50 p.m. ET) The Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today issued the following statement concerning the increasing violence in Côte d’Ivoire and the deaths of seven women during a peaceful demonstration in Abidjan yesterday:

"Canada is deeply concerned by the escalating violence in Côte d’Ivoire in recent weeks, which has claimed the lives of hundreds of Ivorians.

"Canada strongly condemns the use of violence against the peaceful demonstrators. We are particularly dismayed by the recent killing of seven women at the hands of security forces loyal to Laurent Gbagbo during a peaceful demonstration. Laurent Gbagbo stubbornly refuses to acknowledge the Ivorian people’s desire for change, which they expressed by electing Alassane Ouattara in the November 2010 elections. These recent attacks illustrate Mr. Gbagbo’s extremely dangerous behaviour, which could plunge the country into civil war.

"The political crisis that has persisted in Côte d’Ivoire since 1999 has caused incalculable suffering among Ivorians. Canada is extremely concerned to see Côte d’Ivoire returning to a climate of terror in which murder and the incitement of ethnic tension are used as political tools.

"Canada will continue to work closely with its African and international partners to urge Laurent Gbagbo to step down."

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For further information, media representatives may contact:

Lynn Meahan
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs
613-995-1851

Foreign Affairs Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
613-995-1874
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