US calls on West African nations to support peacekeeping force

peacekeeping force in Ivory Coast

Buttressing of peacekeeping forces and imposing financial sanctions against President Laurent Gbagbo could help prevent a civil war in Ivory Coast.

State Department spokesman Philip J. Crowley says that Gbagbo had lost the last election and he should step down making way for the elected party to form government.

While the presence of US forces is not discussed now, USA wants Nigeria and West African nations to augment the existing UN peacekeeping force. Gbagbo has already questioned the presence of UN peace keeping force in Ivory Coast. His next move could be to resist the peacekeeping force with his own force, which could lead to a civil war.

Opposition leaders are already requesting for the removal of Gbagbo who is still clinging on to power despite losing the elections. France and Germany have warned their citizens to leave the country. The UN refugee commissioner has reported that nearly 6000 people of Ivory Coast have fled the country.

World Bank President Robert Zoellick confirmed that the bank has frozen loans to the Ivory Coast. The Central Bank of West African States has also stopped lending to Ivory Coast. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has expressed concern over the possibility of Ivory Coast slipping in to a civil war. US is urging and hoping that sanctions and increase presence of peacekeeping forces could stop a civil war there.