French, UN troops in action against Gbagbo camp: France

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French and UN soldiers were engaged in operations in Abidjan Monday to "neutralise" weapons used against civilians by fighters for Ivory Coast strongman Laurent Gbagbo, the French government said.

Under the auspices of UN Security Council resolution 1975, the troops "have engaged in actions aimed at neutralising heavy arms used against civilians and UN personnel in Abidjan," said a presidency statement.

The objectives of the military action was not outlined in further detail.

"The Secretary General of the United Nations (Ban Ki-moon) requested the support of French forces in these operations," said the statement.

"The president of the republic (Nicolas Sarkozy) responded positively to this request, and authorised French forces... to participate in operations conducted by ONUCI (the UN mission in Ivory Coast) aimed at protecting civilians."

"France calls for the immediate cessation of all violence against civilians. The perpetrators of these crimes must be brought to justice," said the presidency.

© 2011 AFP

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