20 Jan 2011

UN to send more troops to Ivory Coast

8:38 am on 20 January 2011

The United Nations security council has unanimously agreed to send 2000 extra peace keepers to Ivory Coast.

A contingent of 9800 peacekeepers is already in place there.

The country is in deadlock with incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo refusing to cede power to Alassane Ouattara, who is widely recognised as the winner of an election on 28 November.

Mr Gbagbo maintains control of the security forces, much of the cocoa sector and state institutions.

The UN is protecting Mr Ouattara in a temporary headquarters at a hotel in the main city of Abidjan.

Prime Minister Raila Odinga of Kenya has told the BBC his latest mediation efforts to end the crisis have failed.

"Unfortunately President Gbagbo has once again refused to lift the blockade around the Golf Hotel in Abidjan where Mr Ouattara was staying - that made it impossible for negotiations to take place," Mr Odinga told the BBC.

"We ... have told Mr Gbagbo that time is running out for peaceful negotiations," he said.

Meanwhile, the BBC reports West African military leaders have been meeting in Mali to discuss a possible military intervention.

The ECOWAS regional grouping has threatened to force Mr Gbagbo out.