EU slams Laurent Gbagbo with sanctions

Brussels, Belgium (PANA) – The Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the European Union (EU), meeting in Brussels, have slammed Laurent Gbagbo with targeted sanctions, including travel bans to Europe and the freezing of his bank accounts in Europe.

In a communique after their meeting, the EU ministers specified that the sanctions were imposed on Gbagbo and his close collaborators "for their refusal to recognize Alassane Ouattara as the new president of Cote d'Ivoire", following the former Prime Minister's victory at the 28 November presidential run-off.

While the Independent Election Commission returned Ouattara as winner of that election, the pro-Gbagbo Constitutional Council quashed the result only to give Gbagbo the nod to stay on in power, sparking world-wide condemnation and calls for Gbagbo to quit.

The sanctions, according to the ministers, "will affect any person blocking the peace and reconciliation processes and, in particular, those threatening the result of the electoral process".

The EU ministers did not, however, suspend all or part of the aid for development for Cote d'Ivoire under the 10th European Development Fund (FED) but said the sanctioned would be toughened should the crisis persist.

Observers believe it will be difficult for the EU to forbid the importation of Ivorian banana and cocoa. With a production of about 2 millions tonnes per year, Cote d'Ivoire remains the world's largest cocoa producer. The country is also Africa's largest banana producer with a production of 250,000 tonnes per year.

Cote d'Ivoire will be the agenda when the Summit of heads of State and Government of the European Union takes place Thursday in Brussels.
-0- PANA AK/TBM/MTD/VAO 14Dec2010

14 december 2010 17:00:05




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