French Envoy to lose Accreditation in Ivory Coast: Gbagbo

Laurent Gnagbo Photo: voa

The government of incumbent Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo says it has canceled the accreditation of France’s envoy, after France recognized his rival, Alassane Ouattara, as the winner of the country’s disputed election.

A spokesman for Mr. Gbagbo announced the order Saturday on state television.

Mr. Ouattara has already named an ambassador to France, Ali Coulibaly.

Mr. Gbagbo’s government previously ordered the Canadian and British ambassadors out of the country, but they have refused to leave.

President Gbagbo has ignored demands to yield power to Mr. Ouattara, the internationally recognized winner of Ivory Coast’s run-off election in November. The presidential deadlock has triggered a crisis in the west African country.

Meanwhile, West African leaders opened a summit in Mali Saturday to work on resolving the crisis in Ivory Coast.

The Economic Community of West African States, or ECOWAS, has threatened to use force if Mr. Gbagbo does not resign.

On Friday, South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma said efforts to end the Ivory Coast crisis by demanding one of the two candidates resign are not working. He said it is up to ECOWAS to decide what to do.

Mr. Ouattara is in a hotel in Abidjan where he is protected by U.N. peacekeepers. He has said he is open to letting Mr. Gbagbo live in Ivory Coast with privileges as a former president, but that Mr. Gbagbo has to resign immediately and peacefully. voa

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