Entries in Laurent Gbagbo (6)


Ivory Coast to Resume Chocolate Exports Following Civil Unrest

Jack Hollingsworth/Photodisc/Thinkstock(ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast) --- The African nation of Ivory Coast, the world’s biggest cocoa producer, announced plans Wednesday to resume shipments of the delicious commodity after civil unrest halted exports, causing cocoa futures prices to rise to their highest level since 1979.

Approximately 400,000 tons of cocoa have accumulated on docks in Ivory Coast cities since the country fell into turmoil over President Laurent Gbagbo, who refused to resign and admit defeat after losing a national election.

Gbagbo was finally ousted Monday after opposition forces, supported by French and United Nations troops, captured him in the capital city of Abidjan.

International sanctions halted cocoa exports as part of an effort to choke off Gbagho’s economic resources and force him from office.

His successor, President Alassane Ouattara, who is internationally recognized as the winner of the election, told reporters that cocoa exports would resume immediately.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Leader Considers Surrender as Unrest Continues in Ivory Coast

STP/Getty Images(TAKORADI, Ghana) -- Laurent Gbagbo reportedly participated in negotiating the terms of a potential surrender on Tuesday, signifying a possible turn in the civil war that has consumed the Ivory Coast these past four months.

According to The New York Times, France's foreign minister, Alain Juppe, said that French negotiators were helping broker Gbagbo's surrender on terms backed by the United Nations. According to Juppe, negotiators are trying to convince Gbagbo to sign a document recognizing Alassane Ouattara as the country's legitimate leader.

Although he began participating in talks, and despite the fact his government and armed forces have fallen apart, Gbagbo told French television Tuesday that he had not surrendered.

Even if Gbagbo does step down though, it is unknown if Gbago's supporters would transfer their support to Ouattara. It is also unclear what else besides a signature Ouattara would demand of Gbagbo.
Copyright 2011 ABC Radio News


Ivory Coast Violence Leaves 800 Dead

SIA KAMBOU/AFP/Getty Images(DUEKOUE, Ivory Coast) -- Intercommunal violence in the western Ivory Coast city of Duekoue has left at least 800 people dead.

The International Committee of the Red Cross called the scale and brutality of the event shocking.

The violence is part of a continued political upheaval between forces loyal to the U.N.-recognized president Alassane Ouattara and the incumbent, Laurent Gbagbo.

The two forces have been battling for power since Ouattara was named the winner of November's presidential election and Gbagbo refused to leave office, claiming that he, not Ouattara was victorious.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


One Million People Estimated to Have Fled Ivory Coast Port

ISSOUF SANOGO/AFP/Getty Images(ABIDJAN, Cote d'Ivoire) -- UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, reports that a million people may have fled the Ivory Coast port city of Abidjan in the wake of violence over President Laurent Gbagbo's disputed election.

Residents have fled from the dense neighborhoods of the city due fears of escalating violence between Gbagbo and his opponent Alassane Ouattara, both of whom allege to have won November's presidential election.

450 people have been reported dead since violence erupted.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Ivory Coast Civilians: Where's Our No-Fly Zone?

SIA KAMBOU/AFP/Getty Images(ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast) -- As the world shifts its attention to Libya and Moammar Gadhafi, the situation in Ivory Coast, where at least 500 people have been killed and nearly half a million are fleeing their homes in fear, has been overshadowed.

For nearly four months, the international community, including the Obama administration, have been calling for Ivory Coast's incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo to accept his loss of the presidential election and step down.  Those calls have been met with brutal violence against anyone seen as a supporter of his rival, Alessane Outtara.

There has been video of tanks firing on unarmed women protesters, pictures of some of the more than 30 people killed when Pro-Gbagbo forces shelled a crowded market, and nightly messages on state TV by Gbagbo officials encouraging the youth to arm themselves and attack "the terrorists."

Reports of mercenaries from Liberia crossing back and forth between the two countries show the deteriorating situation in Ivory Coast is threatening to destabilize the whole region, leaving many Ivorians asking: where is our no-fly zone?

The Obama administration has put out many statements condemning the violence in Ivory Coast.

On Monday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said, "Gbagbo’s indiscriminate violence can't be tolerated.  All individuals responsible for ordering or carrying out these heinous acts will have to answer for their actions.”

Clinton also said the administration has pledged over $12 million dollars to the World Food Program to help feed the hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing the fighting.

But aside from sanctions and a temporary boycott of cocoa exported from the country, the world's largest producer of the crop, little other action has been taken by the United States and the international community.

On Friday, The New York Times published an editorial saying the world needed to do more to intervene before it's too late.  Even a seemingly non-military intervention action like the United Nation's jamming the television and radio signals to stop broadcasts inciting violence would do some good in diffusing the situation, the Times argued.  With the crisis escalating more every day, "the international community must move quickly to halt this terror," the Times declared.

For Ivorians watching the crisis unfold, next to the attention Libya is getting, there is a feeling that the Obama administration and the West is willing to stand by while the country descends into chaos and thousands are potentially killed.

Twitter messages in English and French detail what's happening in the country and cry for help.  One uses hashtags to Obama, Sarkozy, and various media outlets: "S.O.S," @boomshake1 tweets, adding, "WE NEED HELP in COTE D IVOIRE GBAGBO killed us."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Pentagon Team Will Assess Evacuation of Ivory Coast Embassy

Photo Courtesy --Getty Images(WEST AFRICA) – A Pentagon team has arrived in the Ivory Coast to assess whether to evacuate the embassy there amid tensions over the ex-president’s refusal to step down.

The team arrived in the country Tuesday, and according to the State Department, will look at “contingencies” should things get worse.

The embassy has been under so-called “ordered departure” since December 20 as tensions send the country closer into full-blown conflict. All non-essential personnel and families of Americans stationed there have been removed from the country.

Last week, the embassy’s perimeter was hit by a stray RPG round during fighting nearby. Nobody was injured in the incident, however. 

The nation’s ex-president, Laurent Gbagbo, has refused to step down after losing last month’s elections. Last week, the U.S. slapped travel sanctions on Gbagbo and his inner circle.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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