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US backs ban on Ivory Coast cocoa imports

The Obama administration is throwing its weight behind a call from Ivory Coast's internationally-recognized leader for a month-long ban on cocoa imports from the west African nation to press the country's president to step down.

The Obama administration is throwing its weight behind a call from Ivory Coast's internationally-recognized leader for a month-long ban on cocoa imports from the west African nation to press the country's president to step down.

The State Department said Monday that it supported the ban as part of a strategy to force President Laurent Gbagbo (BAHG'-boh) to relinquish power. Gbagbo has refused to recognize the results of elections showing that he lost to challenger Alassane Ouattara (al-eh-SAHN' WAH'-tah-rah.)

Ouattara has called for the month-long ban on exports to choke off Gbagbo's funding.

Ivory Coast is the world's largest producer of cocoa beans and cocoa prices shot higher on Monday after Ouattara made his proposal.

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