Envoys expulsion 'null and void': I. Coast's Ouattara
An order by Ivory Coast's strongman, incumbent Laurent Gbagbo, to expel Britain and Canada's ambassadors is "null and void," the government of the man the world recognises as president said Friday.
"In a January 6 statement the illegal government of Mr Laurent Gbagbo sought to end the accreditation of the United Kingdom and Canadian ambassadors in Ivory Coast," a statement from Alassane Ouattara's foreign ministry said.
"As this decision did not come from the government of Ivory Coast it is null and void."
The expulsion was announced by Gbagbo-controlled state television on Thursday and was swiftly rejected by London and Ottawa, which along with the rest of the international community say Ouattara won a November 28 election.
Despite stepped up pressure on Gbagbo, his troops maintain their siege on Ouattara's temporary headquarters at an Abidjan hotel.
"The Ivory Coast government therefore thanks the governments of the United Kingdom and of Canada for the responsible attitude they have taken in rejecting this so-called decision and staying in Ivory Coast to continue their mission."
"Moreover, any future declaration of this nature will in now way engage the Ivory Coast government and should therefore be considered null and void."
© 2011 AFP