US Backs Ivory Coast Cocoa Ban

January 24, 2011 Updated: October 1, 2015

Supporters of incumbent Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo block a convoy of UN peacekeepers on January 24 in Abidjan. Alassane Ouattara, internationally recognized as the winner of Ivory Coast's election, tried to choke off funding for his rival Laurent Gbagbo on Monday by ordering a halt to cocoa and coffee exports. (Issouf Sanogo/Getty Images )
Supporters of incumbent Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo block a convoy of UN peacekeepers on January 24 in Abidjan. Alassane Ouattara, internationally recognized as the winner of Ivory Coast's election, tried to choke off funding for his rival Laurent Gbagbo on Monday by ordering a halt to cocoa and coffee exports. (Issouf Sanogo/Getty Images )
A month-long ban on cocoa exports from the world's No. 1 exporting country, Ivory Coast, is backed by the United States and manufacturers in an attempt to freeze funds to force incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo to let go of his power. Gbagbo was defeated in a presidential election on Nov. 28, but has refused to relinquish power to the internationally recognized winner Alassane Ouattara.

Ouattara suspended the export of cocoa, used in chocolate and coffee for one month on Monday. The main exporters in the country that are responsible for one-third of the globe's cocoa, agreed to the ban, Bloomberg reported.

U.S. State Department spokesman Phillip Crowley said the United States supports the ban and U.S.-based chocolate manufacturer Cargill in this action.

Crowley said Gbagbo is using the funds from the exports to buy support from military and political actors to stay in power.

According to a United Nations report from Jan. 14, Gbagbo is inciting violence against fellow countrymen. Violence in Ivory Coast has cost 260 lives and caused 30,000 refugees to flee the country.

Since the elections, the price of cocoa has already increased by 14 percent and is now expected to rise further, Bloomberg reports.