France says has no plans to deploy troops in Ivory Coast

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France said Wednesday there were no plans for its soldiers to intervene if violence erupted between supporters of the two men who both claim the presidency of the former French colony.

France "of course has no intention to intervene militarily" if supporters of Alassane Ouattara and Laurent Gbagbo start fighting, French Defence Minister Alain Juppe told France Inter radio.

France has around 900 troops deployed in the West African state in peacekeeping duties. Juppe said these soldiers could be used to evacuate French citizens in case of an emergency.

Ouattara was recognised as the victor of Ivory Coast's November 28 election by most of the international community, but incumbent Gbagbo has also declared himself president and retains control of government infrastructure.

The standoff has raised fears of new strife eight years after the country was divided by a civil war.

© 2010 AFP

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