European Parliament wants tougher action on Ivory Coast

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The European Parliament on Thursday called on all Ivory Coast parties to avoid escalating the crisis and urged the EU's foreign policy chief to issue "new initiatives" to support president-elect Alassane Ouattara.

A resolution adopted by all political groups in the assembly calls on incumbent leader Laurent Gbagbo "to step down and hand over power to Alassane Ouattara", while urging parties "to avoid any risk of an escalation of tension and to prevent any confrontation."

The MEPs also supported an EU decision to sanction Gbagbo and "adopt targeted measures against those who are obstructing the process of peace and national reconciliation."

Their resolution also calls on EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton "to present as soon as possible new initiatives to support the democratically-elected authorities of Cote d'Ivoire."

EU foreign ministers said Monday they had "decided to adopt without delay targeted restrictive measures" against those obstructing peace and the election results and had asked Ashton to draw up a list of those to face sanctions.

Diplomatic sources told AFP earlier this week that the EU was eyeing 11 Gbagbo cronies as sanctions targets, including the heads of the country's RTI radio and TV network, the head of the audiovisual board and the head of the FPI party.

Also on the list were two generals, an admiral, Gbagbo's security advisor, the head of his cabinet and his wife Simone's bodyguard.

© 2010 AFP

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