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Three African presidents who met with defiant Ivory Coast president Laurent Gbagbo will try again to defuse a deadly political crisis.
Three African presidents who met with Laurent Gbagbo on Tuesday will try again next Monday to defuse an political crisis sparked by the defiant Ivory Coast president's refusal to cede power.
Presidents Ernest Bai Koroma of Sierra Leone, Boni Yayi of Benin and Pedro Pires of Cape Verde met Wednesday with Goodluck Jonathan, president of Nigeria, which chairs the Economic Community of West African State (ECOWAS), a spokesman for the group told CNN.
The U.N. certified Alassane Ouattara as the winner of the Nov. 28 runoff vote in Ivory Coast, but Gbagbo insists he won.
More than 170 people have been killed in post-election violence, with human rights groups accusing gunmen supportive of Gbagbo gunmen of extra-judicial killings, kidnappings and torture. The dispute threatens to tip the country back into civil war, with Gbagbo's supporters warning against use of force to remove him, citing the possibility of war in West Africa.
ECOWAS has threatened military intervention if Gbagbo does not step down from power, saying it is prepared to use "legitimate force" to remove him and prosecute him and any others responsible for post-election violence in Abidjan in an international court.
ECOWAS has previously intervened to defuse similar crises in Liberia and Sierra Leone.
The meeting Tuesday was to be Gbagbo's final chance. However the ECOWAS delegation left Tuesday night without Gbagbo, whom they had been willing to offer political asylum.
While France, which last week urged its citizens to leave Ivory Coast temporarily, has agreed to recognize an envoy of Ouattara as the rightful Ivory Coast Ambassador in Paris. Belgium has also said it will recognize Ouattara's appointee. Gbagbo's government has threatened to expel ambassadors of countries that recognize Ouattara's ambassadors, according to a spokesman, Ahoua Don Melo.
Tensions in Ivory Coast continue to mount. A crowd attacked a U.N. convoy in Abidjan on Tuesday.