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U.S. Embassy plans to reopen Ivory Coast consular section

By the CNN Wire Staff
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Restoring normalcy in Ivory Coast
  • Consular section expected to reopen on or about Monday
  • State Department continues to warn against travel to Ivory Coast
  • Statement indicates there are continued reports of lawlessness in Abidjan

Abidjan, Ivory Coast (CNN) -- The U.S. Embassy consular section in Abidjan may reopen Monday, but it initially will provide limited services, according to the State Department.

The department continues to warn American citizens against traveling to Ivory Coast despite the arrest of former President Laurent Gbagbo, who defied calls to step down after an electoral commission declared he lost a presidential election in November to Alassane Ouattara.

A violent power struggle followed the standoff, with supporters loyal to both sides taking to the streets in protests since December. Hundreds have been killed, according to the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Ouattara has been recognized internationally as the legitimate winner.

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"Contacting the Consular Section before making a visit would be prudent under the circumstances," the State Department said in a statement Thursday. "We need to reiterate that because of the conditions in the country, the Embassy has severely diminished capacity to assist U.S. citizens and that in the event of a temporary flare-up in violence sheltering in place is often your best option."

The statement claims there are continued reports of lawlessness in various neighborhoods of Abidjan, the nation's largest city and commercial center.