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    Ivory Coast Leader Calls it Quits


    by NTDTelevision

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    First up in the news today, UN officials say Ivory Coast's Laurent Gbagbo wants to surrender and is asking for UN protection. Gbagbo has been under intense pressure to leave office after losing the presidential election yet refusing to step down. Here's more.

    The incumbent leader of Ivory Coast, Laurent Gbagbo, says he's willing to surrender. According to an internal U.N. document seen and reported on by Reuters on Tuesday, Gbagbo has asked for the United Nations protection.

    Gbagbo has been negotiating his departure following a fierce assault by rival forces, backed by U.N. and French helicopter air strikes.

    According to the French Foreign Minister, the President of France Nicolas Sarkozy urged Ivory Coast presidential claimant Alassane Ouattara in a telephone call on Tuesday to form a national unity government as soon as possible.

    Ouattara is recognized by the international community as the winner of November's presidential election. He is likely to announce amnesties for members of Gbagbo's administration and include some of them in his unity government.

    The French Foreign Minister also responded to questions about whether Laurent Gbagbo should be allowed to remain in Ivory Coast if he resigned from office.

    Defense Minister Gerard Longuet, also present at the hearing, suggested that Gbagbo might be able to go into exile elsewhere in Africa.