Ivory Coast: Opposition Leader Calls for International Military Action

Ivory Coast opposition figure Guillaume Soro called on the international community Wednesday to intervene in the country’s presidential election dispute.

Soro is the prime minister candidate under Alassane Outtara, the opposition leader widely recognized by international observers to have won Ivory Coast’s Nov. 28 runoff election.

Incumbent leader Laurent Gbagbo also claimed the victory and refuses to leave office. At least 50 people have been killed in the Ivory Coast in the recent political stalemate since the election, the U.N. said Sunday.

Soro urged the U.N., European Union, African Union, and other world leaders to consider ousting Gbagbo before more bloodshed occurs.
“It is obvious that there is one solution left – that of force,” Soro told France’s i-tele television channel, according to The Associated Press.

The United States and the EU are imposing sanctions on Gbagbo’s regime, and the World Bank said Wednesday that it has frozen lending and disbursing funds to the Ivory Coast.

According to CNN, U.S. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said Wednesday that the United States and other countries were considering expanding the U.N. force currently in the Ivory Coast.

Meanwhile, French officials warned its citizens Wednesday of mounting dangers in the West African country. Government spokesman Francois Baroin urged the estimated 13,000 French nationals in the Ivory Coast to leave immediately if possible.

The United States, the United Kingdom, and Germany have issued similar warnings to their traveling citizens.

On Tuesday, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon expressed his fears that the conflict will ignite another civil war.

“In the past week, there has been an alarming increase in the use of intimidation by elements of the national security forces loyal to Mr. Gbagbo against the civilian population, and in particular against supporters of President-elect Ouattara,” he said, according to CNN.

“The tactics include abductions and killings and the propagation of hate speech through the state broadcasting corporation,” he continued. “There is a real risk of a return to civil war.”

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