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Russian reluctance to support the French drafted United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolution that would enlarge the UNOCI force in Cote d’Ivoire will probably be overcome by further watering-down of the text. The resolution under consideration would increase the size of the UN troop contingent by 2,000. However, the reality is that 12,000 UN troops can no more maintain order in Cote d’Ivoire than the 10,000 who are already there.
The significance of the UN vote – when it happens – is that the UNSC is yet again going on record that Gbagbo must go. Nevertheless, Russia’s insistence that the mention of Ouattara that was in the initial draft be deleted is an indicator of Moscow’s reluctance to be drawn into the internal affairs of Cote d’Ivoire. It is the financial sanctions that are likely to bite more than UNSC actions. However, Adam Nossiter reports that Gbagbo is already circumventing them in a variety of ways, including pressure on cocoa producers to pay in advance export taxes and by what amounts to forced loans.