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West African Bank Replaces Head to Cut Off Ivory Coast Government


International Monetary Fund Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn (R) meets with Philippe Henri Dacoury-Tabley, governor of the BCEAO, the West African central bank, in Abidjan (File Photo).

International Monetary Fund Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn (R) meets with Philippe Henri Dacoury-Tabley, governor of the BCEAO, the West African central bank, in Abidjan (File Photo).

West African leaders have replaced the head of the region's central bank in a move to further isolate the incumbent president of Ivory Coast who is refusing to give up power to the internationally-recognized winner of November's vote.

West Africa's central bank last month announced it would sever incumbent president Laurent Gbagbo's access to Ivorian funds as part of an effort to drive him from power in favor of the man who most regional leaders say won the presidential election -former prime minister Alassane Ouattara.

Gbagbo's government continued to have access to state funds, chiefly because central bank governor Philippe Henri Dacoury-Tabley is a Gbagbo ally. So West African leaders forced Tabley to resign.

Soumaila Cisse, the president of the West African Economic and Monetary Union, says heads of state at an emergency meeting in Mali were concerned about the impact that Tabley not applying their decision would have on the stability of the regional economic and monetary union.

Cisse says the current vice-governor will take over until there is a permanent replacement for Tabley. A written statement from the meeting says Ouattara has been asked to nominate a candidate for that permanent replacement.

Ouattara's prime minister Guillaume Soro was at the meeting in Mali. He says the move is further evidence of Gbagbo's isolation.

Soro says the conclusion presented by heads of state in Mali is clear. The central bank governor has resigned and Ouattara will propose a new governor.

The European Union has frozen the assets of Ivory Coast's main cocoa ports, its state oil firm, its main energy utility, its national broadcaster, and three banks because European leaders say those firms are helping to fund what they call an illegitimate government.

The U.S. treasury has frozen Gbagbo's accounts and banned Americans from doing business with his government.

Gbagbo's government says those economic sanctions will hurt foreign businesses more than Ivorians because they can buy manufactured goods from Asia and South America but there is nowhere else in the world that has as much cocoa as Ivory Coast.

West African leaders are also considering a regional military force to remove Gbagbo. Ouattara says that force may now be necessary.

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