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Opposing PM Calls for Forceful Removal of Ivory Coast President


Ivory Coast's presidential claimant Alassane Ouattara attends an interview at his headquarters in Abidjan, 20 Jan 2011.

Ivory Coast's presidential claimant Alassane Ouattara attends an interview at his headquarters in Abidjan, 20 Jan 2011.

The prime minister of Allassane Ouattara, the internationally recognized winner of Ivory Coast's November presidential election, says a targeted military strike is the best way to remove incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo from office.

Former Ivory Coast prime minister Guillaume Soro told reporters in Zambia Wednesday, that dialogue has failed to persuade Gbagbo to step down peacefully.

Earlier Wednesday, Gbagbo said he is seizing control of Ivorian branches of the West African central bank, in an attempt to retain control of state finances.

Gbagbo has ordered Ivorian staffers to answer to local officials and not the bank's management, which is based in Dakar, Senegal.

In a counter move, Ouattara has ordered Ivorian branches of the regional bank to be closed. He has vowed to prosecute anyone who follows Gbagbo's orders.

Saturday, the Gbagbo ally running the Ivory Coast branch of the bank resigned.

The Central Bank of West African States revoked Gbagbo's rights to requisition Ivorian funds in December, but Ouattara's camp says Gbagbo has still been able to get access to those funds through his allies.

Ouattara is conducting his struggle to take office from a hotel in Abidjan, where he is surrounded by security forces and United Nations peacekeepers.

Ouattara also has called for a one-month ban on exports of cocoa to try to starve the Gbagbo camp of funds. But Gbagbo's administration says exports will continue.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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