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Ivory Coast President: France is Supporting Rebels


The president of Ivory Coast has accused France of supporting rebels in his country.

President Laurent Gbagbo issued that charge in an interview published Monday in the French newspaper Liberation.

He said he was left speechless by what he called the "speed and brutality" with which French forces acted earlier this month to destroy Ivorian military aircraft. That offensive followed an Ivorian government assault in the town of Bouake that left nine French soldiers stationed there dead.

Mr. Gbagbo called an "insult" French President Jacques Chirac's charge Sunday that Ivory Coast is drifting toward fascism or anarchy. The Ivorian leader said, for the past 40 years, France supported a one-party state in his nation. He suggested there was little difference between such a system and fascism.

The United Nations Security Council is to vote later Monday on an arms embargo forbidding weapons sales to Ivory Coast. Leaders of six West African nations called for the embargo during a crisis meeting on the Ivory Coast situation on Sunday in Nigeria.

Some information for this report provided by AFP.