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Côte d’Ivoire - Statement by the Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs

Our embassy in Abidjan issued a communiqué last night regarding the extraction of the Japanese ambassador

Paris, 7 April 2011

"At the request of the Japanese authorities, and with President Obama’s full consent, given that the life of the Japanese ambassador to Côte d’Ivoire was in imminent danger after pro-Gbagbo militias had invaded his residence and placed heavy weapons on the roof, threatening neighboring missions and the civilian population, the UN Secretary-General asked France to urgently intervene in order to protect lives.

In response to these requests, the Licorne force intervened this evening to extract the Ambassador and his staff, one of whom was injured, from the Japanese residence. They are now safe and in a secure environment at the military camp at Port-Bouet.

The rescue operation drew fire from pro-Gbagbo forces in and around the presidential residence, notably directed at the French residence which was infiltrated, thus justifying the fact that our helicopters returned fire. This action took place under difficult conditions but was successful".



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