Cote d'Ivoire expels British, Canadian ambassadors

08:01, January 07, 2011      

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Cote d'Ivoire on Thursday expelled the ambassadors from Britain and Canada, state television reported.

A statement from the government of incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo read in the state television said the move came after the two countries refused to recognize the ambassadors appointed by Gbagbo.

The statement said the diplomatic privileges and immunity of the British and Canadian ambassadors remain in place until they leave the African country or until a reasonable amount of time has passed for them to leave.

Cote d'Ivoire has been trapped in a political impasse since the landmark presidential run-off held on Nov. 28. Both Gbagbo and opposition leader Alassane Ouattara claimed victory, swore themselves in as president of the country and formed their respective government.

Gbagbo was backed by the country's Constitutional Council, while Ouattara has the support of the electoral commission.

A mission from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has gone to Abidjan twice for mediation but failed.

ECOWAS has earlier urged Gbagbo to step down and vowed the use of legitimate force if he fails to heed its immutable demand.

In a New Year's message to the nation, Gbagbo said he was not going to give up.

He also described the call for him to quit as "an attempted coup d' etat".

Source: Xinhua
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