US backs French action in Ivory Coast

9th November 2004, Comments 0 comments

WASHINGTON, Nov 8 (AFP) - The United States urged President Laurent Gbagbo of Ivory Coast to call off military activity in his civil war-torn west African nation, the US State Department said Monday, adding that it backed France's destruction of Ivorian warplanes.

WASHINGTON, Nov 8 (AFP) - The United States urged President Laurent Gbagbo of Ivory Coast to call off military activity in his civil war-torn west African nation, the US State Department said Monday, adding that it backed France's destruction of Ivorian warplanes.

US ambassador to Ivory Coast Aubrey Hooks has spoken "several times to President Gbagbo, making clear that President Gbagbo needs to stop all military activities, control street violence and speak publicly on the need for his supporters to remain peaceful and law-abiding," State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said.

US Secretary of State Colin Powell spoke with Gbagbo and French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier on Saturday, Boucher said.

Ivory Coast has been split since rebels in the north attempted a coup against Gbagbo in 2002. A ceasefire reached last year has been enforced by French soldiers and UN peacekeepers.

France destroyed two Ivorian warplanes and three attack helicopters after the jets raided a French military base in the central town of Bouake on Saturday, killing nine French soldiers and a US civilian.

The American, Robert Carsky, was an agronomist working for the West African Rice Development Association, Boucher said.

Boucher said Washington supports Paris' decision to destroy Ivory Coast's air force.

"We think that the response by the French was an action that was necessary to protect their people from further attack and violence," he said.

France's retaliation led to anti-French riots in the largest city Abidjan. Boucher said the situation in Abidjan on Monday was "relatively calm but tense."

© AFP

Subject: French News

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