African presidents descended on Ivory Coast on Monday to work on solving the presidential dispute that has persisted since late November 2010 in the world's top cocoa producer, Bloomberg reports.
At least 300 people have been killed as a result of the impasse from the November 28 election that saw Alassane Ouattara gain international recognition while incumbent president Laurent Gbagbo has not ceded the seat of government because of what he claims was a fraudulent election. As a method of forcing Gbagbo from office, Ouattara severed proceeds from cocoa exports to prevent the financial flow to the Gbagbo.
"The area is a battlefield," said Didier Houldesso, a member of Parti Democratique de Cote d'Ivoire, a youth opposition group. "Youth are demonstrating, they're setting up barricades."
Leaders from South Africa, Mauritania, Chad and Tanzania travelled to the Ivory Coast as part of an African Union-endorsed bid to work out the deadlock. The prime minister of Kenya had conducted shuttle diplomacy missions as an African Union mediator.
Cocoa futures were up 1.77 percent, a $61 increase to $3,499 per metric ton.
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