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Gbagbo orders peacekeepers to leave Ivory Coast

18/12/10 19:03 CET

Ivory Coast’s embattled President Laurent Gbagbo has ordered all foreign peacekeepers to leave the country.

In a move, which is likely to escalate the dispute over last month’s presidential poll his spokeperson said.

‘‘The Ivory Coast government believes the UN Operation in Ivory Coast (UNOCI) has largely failed in its mission, imposing acts which do not fall within its mandate. The President of the Government of Ivory Coast has just demanded the immediate departure of the UN from Ivory Coast and the French forces which support it.”

Both the UN and former colonial power France, which have called on Gbagbo to concede defeat in last months contested poll, have been given until Monday to leave.

France has already threatened sanctions against Ivory Coast if Gbagbo does not step down.

Relations with the UN and the incumbent government took a turn for the worse after it recognised Alassane Ouattara as the run-off’s winner.

Despite results indicating the opposition candidate won by an eight per cent margin, the country has been in turmoil since Gbagbo claimed victory. He has insisted the vote was rigged prompting fears of another civil war in the west African state.

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