UNITED NATIONS – Political unrest following Ivory Coast's disputed presidential election has brought the West African country to the "brink of genocide," its new ambassador to the United Nations said.
World leaders have stepped up pressure on Laurent Gbagbo to quit in favor of Alassane Ouattara, widely recognized as having won the vote.
Youssoufou Bamba, appointed as ambassador to the United Nations by Ouattara, described him as the rightful ruler of Ivory Coast.
"He has been elected in a free, fair, transparent, democratic election. The result has been proclaimed by the independent electoral commission, certified by the U.N.," Bamba told a news conference on Wednesday.
"To me the debate is over, now you are talking about how and when Mr. Gbagbo will leave office," Bamba said.
He said there had been a "massive violation of human rights," with more than 170 people killed during street demonstrations in Ivory Coast.
"Thus, one of the messages I try to get across during the conversations I have conducted so far, is to tell we are on the brink of genocide. Something should be done," Bamba told journalists.
Bamba said he planned to meet every member of the United Nations Security Council.
"I intend to meet all the 15 members. I will meet all of them to explain to them the gravity of the situation ... We expect the United Nations to be credible and the United Nations to prevent violation and to prevent the election to be stolen from the people," Bamba said.
The November 28 election was meant to reunite Ivory Coast, the world's top cocoa growing nation, after a 2002-03 civil war. But a dispute over the results has provoked lethal street clashes and threatens to restart open conflict.
The U.N. General Assembly last week recognized Ouattara as Ivory Coast's legitimate president by unanimously deciding that the list of diplomats he submitted to the world body be recognized as the sole official representatives of Ivory Coast at the United Nations.