Ivory Coast's Ouattara Closes in on Gbagbo

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The Ivory Coast presidential claimant, Alassane Ouattara, calls for the country's military to join him, as his forces close in on rival, incumbent Laurent Gbagbo. Here' more.

The United States says Alassane Ouattara's forces made a final push against rival Laurent Gbagbo in Ivory Coast's main city, Abidjan on Thursday.

The U.N.-backed presidential claimant issued a call to the country's military forces to back him.

Appearing on television, Ouattara said his forces were closing in on his opponent.

[Alassane Ouattara, UN-Backed Ivory Coast Presidential Winner]:
"Today they are at the doorstep of Abidjan. To all those who are still hesitating, whether you are generals, superior officers, officers, under-officers, rank-and-file soldiers, I ask you to put yourself at the disposal of your country and thereby return to legality. There is still time to join your brothers-in-arms, the Republican Forces. The country calls you."

French troops supporting the U.N. in Ivory Coast patrolled the streets of Abidjan on Thursday as sounds of heavy weapon fire rang out over the rooftops.

Laurent Gbagbo has resisted pressure to step aside following last November's poll, most say that he lost.

Gbagbo is believed to be in the presidential palace protected by troops.