Ban Ki Moon spent this morning on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC in meetings with members of Congress. As he emerged from a closed door session with members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee around 11:45 this morning, Ban and Senator John Kerry held a joint press conference.

Cote D’Ivoire topped the agenda. And with Ivory Coast strongman Laurent Gbabgo holed up in a bunker in his presidential palace in Abidjan, Ban Ki Moon’s message was unequivocal.

“If he believes he was once the leader of Cote d’Ivoire, he has to be mindful of the well being, safety, and prosperity of his people,” said Ban. “This is his last opportunity to gracefully exit.”

Keep in mind that as Ban spoke these words, UN peacekeeping forces along with French troops operating under a UN mandate are surrounding Gbagbo’s bunker.

It was not quite an ultimatum, but it’s as close as they come for a Secretary General.

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