Obama renews sanctions on Ivory Coast

President Obama on Monday renewed sanctions on Ivory Coast for a year despite the inauguration of the U.S.-backed President Alassane Ouattara following a months-long military crisis.

Ouattara, the incumbent, lost the disputed 2010 election to another former president, Laurent Gbagbo. Gbagbo was arrested in April 2011 in the wake of international condemnation and an intervention by French special forces.

“The situation in or in relation to Côte d'Ivoire … has resulted in the massacre of large numbers of civilians, widespread human rights abuses, significant political violence and unrest, and fatal attacks against international peacekeeping forces,” Obama wrote to Congress. “Since the inauguration of President Alassane Ouattara in May 2011, the Government of Côte d'Ivoire has made progress in advancing democratic freedoms and economic development. 

“While the Government of Côte d'Ivoire and its people continue to make progress towards peace and prosperity, the situation in or in relation to Côte d'Ivoire continues to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States. For these reasons, I have determined that it is necessary to continue the national emergency and related measures blocking the property of certain persons contributing to the conflict in Côte d'Ivoire.”

The sanctions were first put in place by President George W. Bush in 2006.