Still, there appears to be little international interest in a military intervention in Ivory Coast. The United States and the EU are imposing sanctions targeting Gbagbo, his wife and political allies. Hundreds of UN peacekeepers have been protecting the hotel where Ouattara is based.
Over the weekend, Gbagbo ordered all UN peacekeepers out of the country immediately in an escalation of tensions. The UN considers Ouattara president and is staying put, raising fears that UN personnel and other foreigners could be targeted in violence as tensions mount.
The US State Department has already ordered most of its personnel to leave because of what officials called a deteriorating security situation and growing anti-Western sentiment. Germany's Foreign Ministry also has recommended that its nationals leave.
French government spokesman Francois Baroin said Wednesday that French citizens who can leave Ivory Coast should do so temporarily. At least 13,000 French people are currently believed to be in Ivory Coast, which maintains close ties to France and was once the crown jewel of its former West African colonial empire.
After a meeting in Paris with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, World Bank chief Robert Zoellick also confirmed Wednesday that loans have been halted to Ivory Coast. The World Bank's aid commitment to Ivory Coast was $841.9 million as of January 2010, according to the bank's website.