EU lifts sanctions on two key ports at Ouattara’s request
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Following a request from the internationally recognised President Alassane Ouattara, the EU has ended sanctions on two key ports in Ivory Coast. Businesses like the vital cocoa industry’s regulator have also been removed from the sanctions list.
AFP - The EU decided Friday to lift sanctions on two key ports in Ivory Coast, the vital cocoa industry's regulator and an oil firm, as requested by the country's internationally recognised president.
Following Alassane Ouattara's plea, the 27-nation European Union used a fast-track procedure to remove the ports of Abidjan and San Pedro from a list of entities subjected to an assets freeze.
The cocoa and coffee industry's CGFCC management body and the Ivorian Refining Company were also taken off the list.
The EU said in a statement that it decided "to lift its restrictive measures on certain entities immediately in order to support the legitimate authorities of Cote d'Ivoire and in response to their request."
In a television address on Thursday, Ouattara asked the EU to lift sanctions on certain "public entities" as well as the two ports.
The EU imposed sanctions against Laurent Gbagbo and several economic entities to pressure him to step down following November elections, which the international community says Ouattara won.
Gbagbo is holding out in a bunker in the presidential residence in Abidjan, surrounded b
y Ouattara forces.
By partly removing its sanctions, the EU hopes to help revive Ivory Coast's battered economy, especially its cocoa exports.
Ivory Coast is the world's top cocoa producer, and San Pedro is the top port for cocoa exports.
Coffee and cocoa represent 40 percent of the country's export revenues and one-fifth of its gross domestic product.
Once one of West Africa's most stable and prosperous countries, Ivory Coast's economy has been paralysed by the political crisis.