The United States is threatening the President of Ivory Coast with punitive sanctions if he does not step down from power after losing the West African nation's elections last month.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said on December 9 that President Barack Obama had delivered the warning in a letter sent this week to Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo. Gbagbo has refused to accept the results of the November 28 vote giving his opponent victory.

The U.S. has joined the United Nations, the European Union and the African Union in calling for Gbagbo to step down.

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