Dutch nationals refuse to leave Ivory Coast

17th March 2011, Comments 0 comments

Minister of Foreign Affairs Uri Rosenthal is deeply concerned about the approximately 50 Dutch nationals in the Ivory Coast. They have been repeatedly advised to leave the West African country, but the minister says the want to say.

“We cannot force them to leave,” Rosenthal said during a meeting with the House Wednesday. The Ivory Coast is in the midst of a deteriorating power struggle for presidency, according to the minister. Armed supporters of rival Ivorian leaders Alassane Ouattara and Laurent Gbagbo have been fighting against each other for weeks. 

The violence has recently escalated with estimates of more than 350 deaths. More than 450,000 Ivorian people have been displaced and 72,000 have fled to neighbouring Liberia.

The Foreign Affairs Ministry has insisted that Dutch nationals leave, said a spokesperson. Their decision to stay varies from person to person, ranging from business interests to claims of close ties with the country.

At the moment, there are still opportunities available to leave the Ivory Coast, the spokesperson said. Earlier in the week, the ministry warned that a time may come when national borders and airports close.


© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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