New Ivory Coast ambassador arrives in France

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The man named by Ivory Coast's internationally recognised leader Alassane Ouattara as his country's ambassador to France arrived in Paris on Wednesday to take up his functions, he told AFP.

Ali Coulibaly, formerly Ouattara's diplomatic advisor, said he had held a meeting with Foreign Minister Michele Alliot-Marie and presented her with copies of his credentials from the Ivorian goverment.

"We talked for 30 minutes," he said. "She repeated France's support for the constitutional legitimacy of the President Alassane Ouattara's government."

Coulibaly has not yet taken control of the Ivory Coast embassy in Paris, he said, and will not do so until he has held more meetings with French officials.

While the international community recognises Ouattara as the victor of Ivory Coast's November 28 presidential election, incumbent strongman Laurent Gbagbo has refused to step down and still controls the key levers of state power.

Ouattara's government is holed up in an Abidjan golf resort, protected by UN peacekeepers, but several countries have now recognised his ambassadors as the official representatives of Ivory Coast.

© 2011 AFP

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