Friday, April 08, 2011

Ivory Coast News Update: Gbagbo Forces Still Under Attack; Cocoa Prices Decline

Ouattara orders siege on Gbagbo palace

Fri Apr 8, 2011 1:48AM

Ivorian president-elect Alassane Ouattara has ordered a siege on rival Gbagbo's residence as fighting continues between his forces and those loyal to Gbagbo.

Incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo is believed to be hiding in an underground bunker at the presidential place in Ivory Coast's main city Abijdan, AFP reported.

Gbagbo has reportedly less than a thousand men in Abidjan, including around 200 in his residence.

French authorities have said that UN troops have surrounded the very last of Gbagbo's defenders within a "limited area."

Pro-Ouattara forces tried to enter his residence on Wednesday but pulled back after clashes, as killing Gbagbo could enrage his supporters.

Ouattara assured the victims of the recent violence in the country that criminals will be punished.

Ouattara has said that fighting will lighten beginning on Friday. He has requested that the European Union (EU) lift its sanctions on the ports of Abidjan and San Pedro on the French television channel LCI, Reuters reported.

He also announced measures to improve security, return basic necessities and utilities, and resume economic activities and the payments of workers' salaries.

Meanwhile, The UN Ambassador of the Ivory Coast Youssoufou Bamba has said that Gbagbo will be taken alive and put on trial when he is captured.

Bamba has also stressed that the country's cocoa sector will soon return to normal, after Ouattara placed a ban on exports in mid-January in an attempt to cut off economic support to Gbagbo.

Ouattara is internationally recognized as the winner of the November presidential election. But Gbagbo has refused to step down.

Cocoa Falls; Coffee, Orange Juice Gain; Sugar, Cotton Decline

By Debarati Roy and Isis Almeida - Apr 8, 2011

Cocoa fell after the European Union lifted restrictions on shipments from the Ivory Coast, the world’s largest producer. Coffee and orange juice gained, while cotton and sugar retreated.

The EU lifted the sanctions after president-elect, Alassane Ouattara called for their removal in an attempt to revive the nation’s conflict-devastated economy. Supplies from the Ivory Coast had been disrupted since Ouattara ordered an export ban in January to cut off funds to Laurent Gbagbo, who refused to step down after the Nov. 28 election.

“There is consensus now that the end is in sight,” said Luis Rangel, a vice president at ICAP Futures LLC in Jersey City, New Jersey. “Its now a matter of sorting out the logistic issues before exports begins.”

Cocoa futures for July delivery fell $17, or 0.6 percent, to $2,985 a metric ton at 12:08 p.m. on ICE Futures U.S. in New York. The price dropped 1.4 percent this week.

In London, cocoa futures for July delivery declined 25 pounds, or 1.3 percent, to 1,889 pounds ($3,088) a ton on NYSE Liffe.

Arabica-coffee futures for May delivery gained 2.15 cents, or 0.8 percent, to $2.7495 a pound on ICE. Orange-juice futures for May delivery rose 1.55 cents, or 0.9 percent, to $1.6675 a pound on ICE, a second straight gain.

Raw-sugar futures for July delivery slid 0.39 cent, or 1.5 percent, to 24.88 cents a pound in New York. Cotton futures for May delivery lost 5.25 cents, or 2.5 percent, to $2.0297 a pound on ICE.

In London, robusta coffee gained, while refined sugar slumped.

To contact the reporters on this story: Isis Almeida in London at; Debarati Roy in New York at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steve Stroth at

Iranian, French FMs discuss Bahrain, Libya, Ivory Coast

Tehran Times Political Desk

TEHRAN – Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi and his French counterpart Alain Juppe, during a telephone conversation on Thursday, discussed the latest international issues including the popular uprising in Bahrain, the NATO-led strike against Libya, and the internal strife in Ivory Coast.

The Iranian government has repeatedly criticized the violent suppression of popular uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa by the despotic rulers and condemned the Western powers’ military and political intervention in these countries’ affairs.

French troops are engaged in the NATO-led airstrikes against forces loyal to Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi.

France has also deployed its forces in the main airport in Ivory Coast’s major city of Abidjan and the streets of the capital Yamoussoukro as diplomatic efforts have reportedly failed to force embattled ruler Laurent Gbagbo to cede power to the internationally-recognized winner of the November elections, Alassane Ouattara.

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