US approves sanctions against Ivory Coast's Gbagbo

December 22, 2010 07:41

ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast — The United States approved travel sanctions on Laurent Gbagbo and 30 of his allies Tuesday as pressure mounted on the incumbent leader to step down following last month's presidential election that the international community says he lost.

Meanwhile, the UN refugee agency said that some 6,200 people already have fled the West African country's postelection violence, and regional leaders called on Gbagbo to "yield power with dignity without further delay."The rebuke from neighboring nations carries added weight because Gbagbo's representatives have dismissed similar calls from former colonizer France and other Western nations as foreign interference.

The regional bloc, ECOWAS, also said Gbagbo's weekend demand that thousands of UN peacekeepers leave the volatile country "would further heighten tensions and worsen the plight of the vulnerable."

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