March 30, 2011.
The country of Ivory Coast has seen growing violence after its leader Laurent Gbagbo refused to give up his power since losing the presidential election in November. During the general audience, Benedict XVI announced that he would send a papal envoy to the politically divided nation. Benedict XVI“I urgently appeal a process of constructive dialogue be undertaken as soon as possible for the common good. The dramatic opposition makes the restoration of respect and peaceful coexistence more urgent. No effort should be spared in this regard.”
The pope will send Cardinal Peter Turkson Kodwo to carry his message of peace to Ivory Coast. The cardinal is a native of the neighboring country of Ghana and is currently the president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.
According to the UN refugee agency, 460 civilians have been killed and nearly 500,000 displaced from their homes in the capital of Abidjan and the western areas of the country.