Ouattara calls for cocoa export ban

2011-01-24 13:50
Abidjan - Ivory Coast's internationally recognised leader called for a one-month ban on cocoa exports from the world's largest producer starting on Monday, a move that could cut off one of the last sources of funding to the incumbent leader who refuses to cede power.

The statement from Alassane Ouattara's camp comes at the height of Ivory Coast's cocoa export season, though it is unclear whether the ban will be heeded by cocoa growers or how it will be enforced.

"The government informs all the economic operators of the immediate halt to all coffee and cocoa exports," the statement said late on Sunday, adding that anyone who didn't follow the order would be "subject to national and international sanctions".

While the United Nations, US, France and the African Union have endorsed Ouattara's presidency, he is attempting to run the country from a hotel being protected by the UN peacekeepers. Incumbent leader Laurent Gbagbo, who has been in power for a decade, still controls the country's military and security forces.

Port authorities in Ivory Coast are believed to be staunchly pro-Gbagbo, but both men draw support from the West African nation's cocoa farmers.

The export ban is aimed at further stepping up pressure on Gbagbo, who lost a key ally on Saturday when the president of the regional central bank resigned amid accusations that he was funneling funds to Gbagbo despite a bank order to cut him off from state coffers.

Mass defections

It remains unclear whether Gbagbo will be able to pay state salaries, due this week. Ouattara's allies hope that would set the stage for mass defections if Gbagbo cannot pay civil servants and soldiers in the military.

Gbagbo's government already has tried to order the UN peacekeepers out of the country, claiming that they are no longer impartial after the UN certified election results showing Ouattara won the November 28 presidential runoff vote. The UN Security Council voted last week though to send an additional 2 000 troops.

The West African bloc of countries known as Ecowas has threatened to oust Gbagbo by force if negotiations fail, but has set no deadline for such an intervention.

Ivory Coast was divided into a rebel-controlled north and a loyalist south by a 2002-2003 civil war. The country was officially reunited in a 2007 peace deal, but the long-delayed presidential election was intended to help reunify the nation. Instead, the UN says at least 260 people have been killed in violence since the vote.

Read more on:    alassane ouattara  |  laurent gbagbo  |  ivory coast  |  west africa

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


China's air pollution at doomsday levels

China has long been struggling with air pollution issues but just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse – it has.



Moving short film on ivory trade
10 Tips for Greener Shopping
How safe are your baby products?
5 maps that will change the way you see the world

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts

The pace may be slow today and you may struggle to get things off the ground level, but it is important to focus on the structure...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.