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Germany, France Call on Nationals to Leave Ivory Coast

Reuters By RFI-France has advised its nationals living in Côte d’Ivoire to leave the country after UN head Ban Ki-Moon said there was “a real risk” of a return to civil war. Germany followed suit on Wednesday in recommending its nationals leave the country.

People cross the street in Abidjan

On Wednesday, French government spokesman Francois Baroin told reporters that France recommends that its citizens who can leave Côte d’Ivoire do so temporarily. At least 15,000 French nationals live in Côte d’Ivoire, which maintains close ties to France.

On Tuesday, UN chief Ban Ki-Moon said he was worried about the safety of UN peacekeepers in Côte d’Ivoire after forces loyal to incumbent Laurent Gbagbo tried to cut off supplies to the UN mission in Abidjan. The UN head also warned that there is a “real risk” of civil war in Côte d’Ivoire.

“I am concerned that this disruption of life-support supplies for the mission and the Golf hotel will put our peacekeepers in a critical situation in the coming days,” the secretary-general said.

Ban has asked UN member states to back the UN mission. At the weekend, Gbagbo ordered UN peacekeepers out of the country.

In Côte d’Ivoire, troops loyal to Gbagbo have been blockading the Golf hotel, where presidential challenger Alassane Ouattara has set up his government. 800 UN troops are based at the hotel to protect Ouattara who has the backing of the international community.

Correspondent Marco Chown Oved says people inside the Golf Hotel are worried that food and medication will not last if the siege continues. A senior advisor to Ouattara admitted to not having slept for days.

On Wednesday, Gbagbo appeared for the first time on television, since declaring himself president. During his address, he defied calls for his resignation and said residents inside the Golf hotel were free to leave.

“I’m calling on all those who are still in the Golf Hotel, to go back to their homes. They are free to go as they want,” Gbabgo said.

Gbagbo also raised the possibility of creating a evaluation committee in charge of resolving the post-election crisis.

“I am therefore ready to have an evaluation committee come here and look at the post election election crisis,” said Gbagbo, adding that “Its mission will be to look objectively into what happened and into the electoral process in order to find a peacefull solution to this crisis.”

Gbagbo suggested a member of the African Union would head the committee, which would include representatives belonging to Ecowas, the West African monetary union, the Arab league, the United Nations, the United States, the European Union, Russia and China.

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