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Gbagbo asks UN, French forces to leave Ivory Coast

ABIDJAN, Dec. 18 (Reuters) - The government of Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo has told the United Nations and French peacekeeping missions to leave the country, a spokesman said in a statement on state television on Saturday.

“The government demands the departure of the UNOCI and LICORNE forces in Ivory Coast and is opposed to any renewal of their mandate,” spokesman Jacqueline Oble said.

The West African state has been in turmoil since a Nov. 28 vote in which Gbagbo claimed victory with backing from the nation’s top legal body, rejecting as fraudulent results showing he lost to rival Alassane Ouattara. The United Nations and France have called on Gbagbo to accept defeat. (Reporting by Ange Aboa, writing by Richard Valdmanis; Editing by Jon Boyle)

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