, BRUSSELS, Dec 6 – The European Union threatened Monday to slap targeted sanctions against individuals in Ivory Coast if the country fails to quickly resolve a political crisis that has fuelled fears of civil war.
EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton stressed that United Nations resolutions provide for sanctions "against those who obstruct the peaceful transition and the election," said a European Commission spokeswoman.
"Catherine Ashton is ready to follow procedures which would envisage sanctions if there is no quick resolution to this crisis," spokeswoman Angela Filote told a news briefing.
Ivory Coast was in political turmoil after rivals for the presidency each named their own prime ministers while international mediators tried to settle the stand-off, and Belgium sent in special forces to protect its embassy.
Ashton "calls for a rapid resolution of this crisis in order to create conditions for political stability and development," Filote said.
The EU did not provide details about what kind of sanctions could be applied.
The European Commission has set aside 254.7 million euros in multi-annual development aid for the west African country.
Ashton has backed Alassane Ouattara as the winner of the second round of the disputed presidential election last week. European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso called Ouattara the "legitimate" winner of the election.
Ivory Coast\’s Constitutional Council invalidated results announced by the electoral commission that gave Ouattara a win with 54 percent of the vote, proclaiming Gbagbo the winner instead with 51.45 percent.
The political stand-off has raised fears of a new civil war in the world\’s leading cocoa producer after the country was divided in two following north-south strife in 2002-2003.