The UN imposed sanctions on Ivory Coast strongman Laurent Gbagbo and his cronies late Wednesday. Gbagbo has repeatedly refused to relinquish the presidency, amid escalating violence in the west African nation.
AFP - The UN Security Council on Wednesday ordered sanctions against Ivory Coast strongman Laurent Gbagbo and demanded that he immediately hand power to the internationally-recognized president.
Amid warnings the unrest in the West African nation was "spiralling out of control," the 15-nation council voted unanimously to impose a travel ban and assets freeze on Gbagbo, his wife Simone, and three of his closest associates.
Gbagbo has refused to stand down in favor of Alassane Ouattara, who the United Nations and virtually all countries say won a presidential election last November.
Unrest in recent months has left hundreds dead and the United Nations says that more than one million people have fled their homes as violence worsens.
"The unthinkable is taking place before our eyes," said Nigerian ambassador Joy Ogwu, whose country proposed Resolution 1975 with France.
Highlighting killings and widespread rapes in Ivory Coast, she added: "The unrest is spiralling out of control."
The African Union, the West African regional body, ECOWAS, and other international bodies have all recognized Ouattara as president and the UN resolution made the most explicit condemnation yet of Gbagbo's refusal to hand over power.
There are more than 11,000 UN peacekeepers in Ivory Coast with about 800 protecting Ouattara's headquarters in an Abidjan hotel.
Envoys stressed that the UN mission, UNOCI, must act impartially and opposition from Russia, China, India, South Africa and Brazil forced changes to the resolution which had stressed "the need to seize heavy weapons" from Ivory Coast militias.
The final version said that the UN force should act to "prevent the use of heavy weapons."
The UN peacekeeping mission "should not become a party to the Ivorian political stalemate. The UNOCI should also not get involved in a civil war," warned India's ambassador Hardeep Singh Puri.
Date created : 2011-03-31