France to cut Ivory Coast fighting force to 900 troops

PARIS - France will reduce the number of troops it keeps stationed in Ivory Coast to 900 from the current 1,700 following the removal from power of Laurent Gbagbo, France's defense minister said on Wednesday.
Gerard Longuet told a parliamentary hearing that French and Ivorian troops were patrolling the streets of Abidjan to ensure the rule of law, but that France would not seek to maintain a permanent fighting force in the cocoa-exporting nation.
"This Licorne force will...rapidly be drawn down to its size before the crisis, that is to say it will be reduced to 900 from 1,700," Longuet told a National Assembly defense commission.
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