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EU Imposes Sanctions on Ivory Coast's Gbabgo

A file photo of Ivory Coast's President Laurent Gbagbo and former PM Alassane Outtara speaking after attending a meeting on 21 Sep 2010 in Ouagadougou

The European Union has imposed sanctions on Ivory Coast's Laurent Gbagbo. The measures are designed to force the incumbent president to step down after a disputed election.

Alassane Outtara has been internationally recognized as the winner of Ivory Coast's November vote. But incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo claims he is the winner and has refused to step aside.

Maja Kocijancic is spokesperson for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton. She says EU ministers have decided to take action.

"They have decided to adopt without delay targeted restrictive measures against those who are obstructing the process of peace and national reconciliation and in particular those who are jeopardizing the proper outcome of the electoral process," said Kocijancic.

She said a list of those who will be hit with the targets will be drawn up immediately.

"The targeted restrictive measures will include a visa ban and assets freeze and they will aim to target those leading figures who have refused to place themselves under the authority of the democratically elected president," Kocijancic said.

The African Union and regional bloc ECOWAS have both suspended Ivory Coast until Mr. Gbagbo steps down.

Although the international community has recognized Mr. Ouattara as winner, Mr. Gbagbo controls the army, government buildings, and security forces.

Ivory Coast troops loyal to Mr. Gbagbo have surrounded a hotel in the capital, Abidjan, that Is being used as a base by Mr. Ouattara.

U.N. peacekeepers and fighters who support Mr. Ouattara are guarding the hotel.