Netherlands sends warship to Ivory Coast Dutch ministry spokeswoman says vessel will bring supplies to French and be on standby to help in any evacuation of EU citizens guardian.co.uk, Friday 24 December 2010 13.52 GMT The Netherlands has sent a warship to Ivory Coast, where post-election violence has flared. Photograph: Emanuel Ekra/AP The Netherlands today said it had sent a naval ship to the Ivory Coast which could evacuate Dutch and other European citizens if the post-election violence in the West African nation worsens. The Dutch defence ministry said the French government had requested assistance and it had agreed to dispatch the ship, called the Amsterdam. While the Dutch foreign ministry said the ship's mission was connected to the situation in Ivory Coast, the French defence ministry denied any such link. Marloes Visser, a Dutch ministry spokeswoman, said the ship would be on standby to help in any evacuation, but stressed that its main task was to bring food and fuel supplies to the French. "At the request of the French we will put these supplies on board and bring them to the French ships," Visser said. "We can support the evacuation of EU citizens. "At this moment, there is no planning of an evacuation, there are only preparations because you have to be prepared for every situation that can occur, and evacuation is one of them. "They can evacuate people on board or give some medical support ... there are a lot of possibilities." The Dutch foreign ministry said the French government had requested Dutch naval support "for the co-ordinating role that France is playing in ensuring the safety of EU nationals during the current unrest in Ivory Coast". It added: "Due to the tense situation in Ivory Coast, a number of preparations are being made to guarantee the safety of EU nationals now present in the country." It is expected to return to the Netherlands in the second half of next month. Nicolas Engelbach, a French armed forces spokesman, said the logistical support requested of the Dutch ship was for a French vessel in the Gulf of Guinea, and that it was not directly related to the situation in Ivory Coast. "We have had a mission for several years with the presence of a ship in the Gulf of Guinea and our ships can seek logistical help from other vessels," he added. "This time we have asked for help from the Dutch ship." Asked whether the presence of the French vessel in the Gulf of Guinea was related to the situation in Ivory Coast, he said: "No link". A French foreign ministry spokesman declined to comment. At least 173 people have been killed following the presidential election on 28 November, the UN said as its human rights body unanimously condemned the political violence and called for reconciliation to avoid a renewed civil war.