U.N. puts sanctions on disputed Ivory Coast president

New York – The United Nations Security Council voted unanimously Wednesday to impose sanctions on disputed Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo, his wife and three associates, as well as give U.N. peacekeepers more authority to protect civilians, according to CNN.

The Security Council vote occurred Wednesday amid reports of escalating violence in the west African nation. Forces loyal to Alassane Ouattara, who is widely recognized as the legitimately elected president of the Ivory Coast, seized control of much of Yamoussoukro, the nation’s capital, on Wednesday, according to a spokesman.

Ouattara is internationally recognized as the legitimate winner of a November election. But Gbagbo, the incumbent Ouattara defeated, has refused to give up power. The U.N. resolution demands that Gbagbo step down immediately and that all state institutions, including the military, accept Ouattara as president. It also authorizes U.N. peacekeepers “to use all necessary means to carry out its mandate to protect civilians under imminent threat of violence.” The resolution imposes targeted sanctions and travel bans on Gbagbo, his wife Simone, Desire Tagro, Pascal Affi N’Guessan and Alcide Djedje. The resolution accuses all five of “obstruction to the peace and reconciliation process” and of rejecting the legitimate election of Ouattara. All but Laurent Gbagbo are accused of “public incitement to hatred and violence.”

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