UNITED NATIONS - The UN Security Council imposed sanctions, including travel bans and asset freezes, on Ivory Coast's incumbent leader Laurent Gbagbo and his closest associates on Wednesday.
The 15-nation council voted unanimously for a resolution, drafted by France and Nigeria, that also echoes earlier UN calls for Gbagbo to step down and bans heavy weapons from the main city of Abidjan as the world's leading cocoa producer teeters on the brink of civil war.
The United Nations and African organizations say challenger Alassane Ouattara defeated Gbagbo in presidential elections in the West African country last November. But Gbagbo says he won and has refused to quit.
The vote came after Ouattara's prime minister said there was no room for any further negotiations and that Gbagbo had hours to step down.