EU set to punish Ivory Coast

The European Union (EU) is set today to slap “restrictive measures” against Ivory Coast where incumbent leader Laurent Gbagbo is refusing to recognise his rival’s victory at the polls, a diplomatic source said.

A draft statement approved by ambassadors of the 27-nation bloc that is to be approved by foreign ministers meeting in Brussels later today said the EU “has decided to adopt restrictive measures without delay.”

“The measures would concern people obstructing the peace process and particularly those refusing to submit to election results,” the source said.

Gbagbo is locked in a face-off with long-time enemy Alassane Ouattara after both claimed victory in last month’s presidential election, declared themselves president and named rival governments.

Ouattara has been recognised by the United Nations and the international community, but Gbagbo retains control of the Ivorian army and the country’s main cocoa-exporting harbours, which are key to his ability to rule.

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