US warns I Coast`s Gbabgo of risk of sanctions

The US said it has warned I Coast`s incumbent Prez he could face sanctions if he makes the "wrong choice" by hanging onto power following elections there.

Updated: Dec 10, 2010, 11:38 AM IST

Washington: The United States said on Friday
it has warned Ivory Coast`s incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo
he could face sanctions if he makes the "wrong choice" by
hanging onto power following elections there.

Gbagbo, 65, has defied calls to end his 10 years in
power after the United Nations recognised Ouattara as
president following a November 28 election marred by clashes
said to have left at least 20 people dead.

The warning of sanctions was made in a letter from US
President Barack Obama that was delivered to Gbagbo in the
last few days, State Department spokesman Philip Crowley told
reporters.

The letter "made clear that if he makes the wrong
choice, that will lead to isolation of Ivory Coast and its
existing government and we would look at possible sanctions
against him and others if necessary," Crowley said.

Crowley on Tuesday urged Gbagbo to "recognise the will
of the people" and allow for a "peaceful transition" of power
to his rival Alassane Ouattara following elections.

He said if he took such a path, it would lead "to
continued progress for his country and its people,
preservation of the institution of democracy," adding it would
"maintain his country as a leader in Africa."

PTI