I. Coast envoy moves into Paris embassy

25th January 2011, Comments 0 comments

An ambassador named by the rival leader vying for control of Ivory Coast moved on Tuesday with a locksmith's help into its Paris embassy, vacated by the envoy of defiant incumbent leader Laurent Gbagbo.

Ali Coulibaly was appointed to the key ambassadorial post by Alassane Ouattara, whom France and much of the rest of the international community recognise as the country's rightful leader after disputed elections.

An AFP journalist outside the embassy said Coulibaly, surrounded by supporters, entered the premises in a chic district of central Paris after having a locksmith open the doors in the early afternoon.

"I am now the ambassador of Ivory Coast in France," he told the crowd, before going inside and appearing on an upper balcony making a two-fingered victory sign.

Gbagbo has defied international calls to step down after a November 28 second-round election in which UN-certified results showed Ouattara the winner.

The constitutional court controlled by Gbagbo's allies annulled those results and Gbagbo has remained in the presidential palace with the support of the national army.

France accredited Coulibaly as Paris ambassador last week, replacing Gbagbo's envoy Pierre Kipre.

© 2011 AFP

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