EU to punish Ivory Coast

AFP, Monday 13 Dec 2010

The European Union is set Monday to slap "restrictive measures" against Ivory Coast

Ivory Coast rebels
Rebels stand at attention during a military ceremony at the headquarters of their stronghold of Bouake in central Ivory Coast 4 December 2010. (Reuters)

The European Union is set Monday to slap "restrictive measures" against Ivory Coast where incumbent leader Laurent Gbagbo is refusing to recognise his rival's victory at the polls.

A draft statement approved by ambassadors of the 27-nation bloc that is to be endorsed by foreign ministers meeting in Brussels later in the day said the EU "has decided to adopt restrictive measures without delay."

"The measures would concern people obstructing the peace process and particularly those refusing to submit to election results," a diplomatic source said.

Gbagbo is locked in a face-off with long-time enemy Alassane Ouattara after both claimed victory in last month's presidential election, declared themselves president and named rival governments.

Ouattara has been recognised by the United Nations and the international community, but Gbagbo retains control of the Ivorian army and the south, which is home to the country's main cocoa-exporting harbours.

The African Union suspended Ivory Coast from its ranks last week and the United States warned of sanctions.

The 53-nation bloc's Peace and Security Commissioner Ramtane Lamamra said Ivory Coast's suspension would last "until the democratically elected president Alassane Ouattara takes power."

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