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French nationals urged to quit Ivory Coast

French nationals urged to quit Ivory Coast
Laurent Gbagbo, president of the Republic of Cote d'Ivoire, addresses the 62nd General Assembly at the United Nations on September 26, 2007 in New York City. (UPI Photo/Monika Graff) | License Photo

PARIS, Dec. 22 (UPI) -- France Wednesday urged its citizens to leave the Ivory Coast as tension over the disputed election rises, media reports said.

Government spokesman Francois Baroin told Radio France Internationale the call was "precautionary." France has about 15,000 citizens in its former West African colony.

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Sanctions against President Laurent Gbagbo, who is refusing to give up power, are "a threat to Ivory Coast," adviser Yao Gnamien said.

France, the European Union, the United Nations and the United States have declared challenger Alassane Ouattara the victor and called on Gbagbo to resign.

"First of all, before suspending any state you have to listen to the different parties involved in the conflict," Gnamien told RFI. "So we cannot think that they can suspend Ivory Coast without listening to President Gbagbo or without listening to the two sides."

He also accused the EU of double standards.

"In France, when President Sarkozy used to send the Roma back to their country, the European Union they gave the floor to President Sarkozy to explain what was wrong. So how can they sanction a country without listening to what is going on?"

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The African Union and the Ecowas West African group have suspended the Ivory Coast from membership.

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