Gbagbo given last chance to leave

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The Independent Online

African leaders began a new mission yesterday to persuade Ivory Coast's Laurent Gbagbo to cede power to his rival Alassane Ouattara in return for guarantees of "safety and security".

Mr Gbagbo has refused to concede that he lost the 28 November election to Mr Ouattara, despite international condemnation and the threat of force to oust him.

Four leaders representing the West African bloc Ecowas and the African Union arrived in Abidjan to urge Mr Gbagbo to give up the presidency after UN-certified results showed he lost the election.

Ecowas has said it could use "legitimate force" if Mr Gbagbo refused to go and a spokesman for Mr Ouattara said this would be Mr Gbagbo's last chance to step down peacefully and with immunity.

More than 170 people have been killed since the start of the stand-off in the world's top cocoa-growing country.

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