The European Union (EU) has blacklisted self-proclaimed President of La Cote d’Ivoire, Laurent Gbagbo at the international market declaring as stolen and illegal any nationalized goods, including cocoa, sold by his government.

Catherine Ashton, EU Vice President and High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.

“Any cocoa or other nationalized goods sold by Gbagbo’s regime are stolen and legal goods.”

The EU, therefore, warned its citizens and economic operators to abstain themselves from trading with Gbagbo and urged other countries to take same approach.

The Vice President of the EU, Catherine Ashton announced this in Brussels on Thursday, March 10, 2011.

The EU’s decision follows a temporary ban placed on coffee and cocoa by Alassane Ouatarra, internationally recognized President of La Cote d’Ivoire to prevent his rival, Gbagbo, from collecting money to buy weapons and hire mercenaries in order to hang on to power.

Catherine Ashton, also the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy recalls that in support of President Ouattara’s efforts, the EU has imposed an asset freeze on Laurent Gbagbo, 95 of his closest collaborators and 13 economic entities, including the Port of San Pedro and Abidjan, who are supporting and financing his illegal regime.

She said any financial transactions in favour of these entities and persons are illegal and urged European enterprises to continue to comply with President’s Ouattara’s temporary export ban and with the sanctions announced by the EU to secure a rapid transfer of power.

Last week, Mr. Gbagbo threatened to confiscate La Cote d’Ivoire’s cocoa stocks and to introduce nationalization of the country’s cocoa trade following the seizure of commercial banks last month all in an attempt to cling on to power.

But the EU considers his act as illegal and warned that “Gbagbo has no right to carry out any nationalization or confiscation of goods since he is no longer the legal president of the country.”

Incumbent Laurent Gbagbo and his rival, Alassane Ouattara are both claiming president of La Cote d’Ivoire following the November 28 polls.

Ouattara was declared winner by the country’s election commission, but the verdict was overturned by the Constitutional Council, headed by an ally of Gbagbo, citing voting irregularities in some parts of the north.

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