France condemns Gbagbo 'plundering' of Ivory Coast cocoa

9th March 2011, Comments 0 comments

France on Wednesday accused Laurent Gbagbo of "plundering" Ivory Coast's strategic cocoa and coffee industries after he ordered his government to seize them as he defiantly clings to power.

Gbagbo's move was an "illegal decision" which amounted to "the plundering of the cocoa and coffee businesses in Ivory Coast," French foreign ministry spokesman Bernard Valero told reporters.

Gbagbo on Tuesday ordered his government to take control of the key purchases and exports, so far dominated by multinational companies, as he resists global pressure to cede power to his rival Alassane Ouattara.

Former colonial ruler France and other international powers recognise Ouattara as winner of November's presidential election, but Gbagbo refuses to step down. The standoff has sparked deadly violence and fears of civil war.

© 2011 AFP

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