U.N. council slaps sanctions on Ivory Coast's Gbagbo

Reuters News
Posted: Mar 30, 2011 5:55 PM
U.N. council slaps sanctions on Ivory Coast's Gbagbo

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The U.N. Security Council imposed sanctions, including travel bans and asset freezes, on Ivory Coast's incumbent leader Laurent Gbagbo and his closest associates on Wednesday.

The 15-nation council voted unanimously for a resolution, drafted by France and Nigeria, that also echoes earlier U.N. calls for Gbagbo to step down and bans heavy weapons from the main city of Abidjan as the world's leading cocoa producer teeters on the brink of civil war.

The United Nations and African organizations say challenger Alassane Ouattara defeated Gbagbo in presidential elections in the West African country last November. But Gbagbo says he won and has refused to quit.

The vote came after Ouattara's prime minister said there was no room for any further negotiations and that Gbagbo had hours to step down.

"The time for dialogue and ceasefires is over," Guillaume Soro, who heads Ouattara's government, told French radio RFI. He said Gbagbo "has a few hours to leave power peacefully."

Soro spoke as forces loyal to Ouattara took the official capital, Yamoussoukro, neared the major port of San Pedro and headed toward Abidjan.

An annex to the draft lists the sanctioned associates as Foreign Minister Alcide Djedje, Gbagbo's wife and senior figure in the Ivorian Popular Front, Simone Gbagbo, the front's chair Pascal Affi N'Guessan, and the secretary general of Gbagbo's presidency, Desire Tagro.

(Reporting by Louis Charbonneau and Patrick Worsnip; editing by Christopher Wilson)