Kenyan PM Brings 'Peaceful Message' To Ivory Coast

"(CNN)
Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga, the African Union mediator in Ivory Coast's crisis, arrived in the west African nation's main city Monday, an official working for Laurent Gbagbo said.

The crisis stems from Gbagbo's refusal to step down as president after an election which international observers say he lost. Odinga Sunday warned Gbagbo to step down or face military intervention by his neighbors.

He said the Ivory Coast's people ""have spoken clearly"" in the November presidential runoff, which international observers say Gbagbo lost to his challenger, Alassane Outtara. Gbagbo has refused to leave office and had himself sworn in for another term. The standoff has brought the country to the brink of renewed civil war.

Odinga is the African Union's special envoy for the crisis, and he said he hoped to convince Gbagbo to step down with his safety guaranteed.

""We are engaged in this to ensure there is a peaceful solution -- that we do not have to use military force to sort out matters in Cote d'Ivoire,"" Odinga told reporters, referring to the country by its French-language name.Odinga left Nairobi on Sunday to join the leaders of three other countries who are representing the Economic Community of West African States. ECOWAS has threatened to use ""legitimate force"" to remove Gbagbo and called a two-day meeting of its defense chiefs January 17 to plan future steps if he fails to step down.

Gbagbo has said he wants an an international committee to recount the vote. But the AU, ECOWAS, the United Nations, the European Union and the United States all have recognized Ouattara as president-elect and called on Gbagbo to step down."