Ivorian Crisis: International troops may be deployed in support of UNOCI

Brussels, Belgium (PANA) - A deployment of international troops, helicopters and navy warships may soon be on ground in Cote d'Ivoire following a meeting of the Political and Security Committee (PSC) of the European Union (EU) in Brussels, the Belgian capital, Monday.

Reports said that although the PSC meeting was yet to take a decision about providing logistical support to UNOCI, at the request of UN Secretary General, Ban Kin Moon, France has revealed that its helicopters and naval forces are ready, but was awaiting response from other EU Member States to deploy them on the ground.

The reports also indicated that Netherlands has stationed a warship off the Ivorian coast.

The UN needs more helicopters to supply UNOCI troops which are protecting the Gulf Hotel base of president-elect Alassane Ouattara, and his Prime Minister, Guillaume Soro, who are barricaded from leaving their hotel rooms by forces loyal to outgoing Laurent Gbagbo.

Meanwhile, supplies to UNOCI are blocked at the port of Abidjan as port authorities refuse to provide customs clearance, the statement added amidst fears that the UNOCI troops might be facing worsening situation.

PANA recalls that the UN Security Council decided to extend by six months, until 30 June, 2011, the mandate of UNOCI in Côte d'Ivoire.

The EU decided to increase from 19 to 59 the number of Ivorian personalities targeted by sanctions, including visa ban for Gbagbo's close associates.

ECOWAS has also threatened to force Gbagbo out if he refused to cede power to Ouattara, winner of the 28 November presidential run-off polls.
-0- PANA AK/SSB/SMD/VAO 4Jan2011

04 january 2011 17:15:43

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