UN Slaps Sanctions On Cote D'Ivoire's Gbagbo

The UN Security Council has unanimously approved a resolution demanding an immediate end to the escalating violence in Cote d'Ivoire, as fighters supporting the nation's internationally recognised leader parade through the streets of the capital.

Wednesday's council vote comes five days after France and Nigeria introduced a draft resolution expressing ""grave concern"" that Cote d'Ivoire could relapse into civil war.

The resolution urges all Ivorian parties to respect the election of Alassane Ouattara as president. It condemns president Laurent Gbagbo's decision not to accept Ouattara's election and urged him ""to immediately step aside"".

The resolution also slaps a travel ban and asset freeze on Gbagbo, his wife, and three key aides. Ouattara's military spokesman confirmed on Wednesday that his forces had entered the capital of Yamoussoukro but told The Associated Press news agency that pockets of resistance still existed.

With the sounds of gunshots cracking over the telephone line, a woman at the downtown Hotel La Residence said rebel forces were doing a victory tour of the city, shooting into the air. Residents came out in the streets to welcome them, she said.

Still many believe a final bloody battle over the presidency is destined for the commercial capital of Abidjan.

Guillaume Soro, Ouattara's prime minister, said on Wednesday that Gbagbo has ""a few hours"" to relinquish power peacefully and there is no room for any further negotiations.""The time for dialogue and ceasefires is over ... (Gbagbo) has a few hours to leave power peacefully,"" Soro, who heads Ouattara's government, told French radio RFI.
Aljazeera.net