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11/19/04 - ACTION ON IVORY COAST  - 2004-11-20

In a unanimous vote, the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution to place an arms embargo on the Ivory Coast. The embargo applies both to the former French colony's government and to rebels.

Jean-Marc de la Sabliere, France's U-N ambassador, says the resolution was introduced after members of the African Union said they were unable to find a peaceful solution:

"The African Union has considered that it was necessary to have an immediate arms embargo, and I must say it is logical."

A cease-fire ended in Ivory Coast when government forces of President Laurent Gbagbo attacked the rebels who have been in control of northern regions of the country since a failed coup in 2002. There have been news reports of human rights abuses by both sides. Renewed fighting and attacks against foreigners broke out despite the presence of more than six-thousand U-N peacekeepers and four-thousand French soldiers.

Kofi Annan, United Nations Secretary-General, says both government and rebel forces should abide by the Linas-Marcoussis peace accord, signed in 2003. Under that agreement, the government was to implement a series of legislative reforms and the rebels were to begin disarming. Both sides allowed deadlines to pass, resulting in a political and military deadlock.

U.S. State Department spokesman Richard Boucher says that in Ivory Coast, leaders on all sides have failed to put the welfare of the people above narrow political interests:

"In conversations with Ivorian officials, we continue to urge the government of Cote d'Ivoire [Ivory Coast] to cooperate with the African Union and to help establish order in the country."

Mr. Boucher says that the U.S. is urging all parties in Ivory Coast to restart a dialogue.