U.S. threatens to impose sanctions on Cote d'Ivoire's Gbagbo

14:09, December 18, 2010      

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U.S. State Department said on Friday that the United States is prepared to impose "targeted sanctions" on Cote d'Ivoire's incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo and his supporters, if he refuses to step down.

"From the United States' standpoint, time is running out. The United States is prepared to impose targeted sanctions, individually and in concert with our partners, on President Gbagbo, his immediate family, and his inner circle, should he continue to illegitimately cling to power," said the department spokesman Philip Crowley.

Gbagbo and his rival, former Prime Minister Alassane Ouattara, both claimed victory in the presidential run-off on Nov. 28, and formed their respective government, leading to a political impasse in the country.

Supporters from both sides clashed in Abidjan in recent days, with multiple fatalities being reported. The United States had recognized Ouattara as the winner and urged Gbagbo to step down.

"International pressure is increasing. Both the European Commission and the United Nations Security Council have released statements asking Ivorians to restrain from violence and respect the outcome of the election," said Crowley.

He said U.S. Undersecretary of State Patrick Kennedy has approved an authorized departure of dependents and non-emergency personnel for American embassy in the country.

Amid rising violence, U.S. State Department said on Thursday that the perimeter of American embassy in Cote d' Ivoire was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade, prompting the department to consider to authorize departure of its personnel.

Source: Xinhua
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