UN Security Council discusses Ivory Coast measures
The UN Security Council met Friday to discuss a draft resolution introduced by France that would ban the use of heavy weapons in Abidjan, the commercial capital of unrest-plagued Ivory Coast.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy had called on the 15-member council to adopt the resolution, which calls for a strengthening of the UN peacekeeping mandate in the West African nation in order to enforce the ban in the city.
Diplomats said it also called for targeted sanctions against the entourage of Laurent Gbagbo, who refuses to give up power to the internationally recognized president Alassane Ouattara.
Sarkozy said Friday he was very concerned about the situation in Ivory Coast, where according to UN officials the escalation of violence and use of heavy weaponry, particularly in urban areas, is taking an increasing toll on civilians.
"It's scandalous that there's heavy weapons fire in Abidjan," Sarkozy told reporters after a summit of European leaders in Brussels.
"The least is to declare Abidjan banned to heavy arms."
Rocket fire and shelling on Thursday rocked the Abidjan suburb of Abobo, a stronghold of Ouattara, witnesses told AFP.
The draft resolution demands an end to attacks against UN mission UNOCI and civilian populations by the Gbagbo camp and calls for UNOCI to protect civilians, according to a diplomat.
The meeting was attended by the deputy chief of UN peacekeeping, Atul Khare, who gave a presentation on the situation in Ivory Coast.
© 2011 AFP