Côte d'Ivoire

EU to stop recognising Gbagbo's ambassadors


The European Union says it will only accept Ivorian ambassadors named by Alasanne Ouattara and not by Laurent Gbagbo. Meanwhile, three West African leaders who held talks with both presidential claimants on Tuesday have returned to Nigeria, but plan to return to Côte d'Ivoire next week.


Ouattara supporters demonstrated at Ivorian embassies in Belgium and Mali on Wednesday morning to demand Gbagbo cede power.

In Brussels, protesters managed to enter the embassy's courtyard but were prevented from entering the building and in Bamako, about 40 pro-Ouattara supporters briefly occupied the embassy before being expelled by police.

Jeremy Black, Exeter

“It’s rather surprising that the European Union is doing it because it would usually be regarded as a sovereign right of an individual state,” says Jeremy Black, author of A History of Diplomacy. “There are real practical difficulties here. How you decide that a government is legitimate or not is a real difficulty.”

Meanwhile, the three West African leaders who delivered an ultimatum to Laurent Gbagbo to step down or face military action are to return to Abidjan on 3 January, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan said Wednesday.

"They came back to give a report, but they are going back," said Jonathan, who is also current head of the regional bloc Ecowas. "People are negotiating. We are discussing. That is why they are going back," He did not further give details of the mediation mission.

Presidents Ernest Koroma of Sierra Leone, Boni Yayi of Benin and Pedro Pires of Cape Verde went to Abidjan on Tuesday on behalf of Ecowas to press Gbagbo to cede power to rival Alassane Ouattara, or face regional military action.

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