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Britain, Canada reject Gbagbo's authority on envoys

By the CNN Wire Staff
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Laurent Gbagbo pressured to step down
  • Britain says it has recognized Alassane Ouattara as president of Ivory Coast
  • Official: "Canada does not recognize Laurent Gbagbo's claim to government"
  • Announcement comes after British, Canadian envoys were rejected by Gbagbo officials

London -- Canada and Britain announced Thursday that they have rejected the authority of self-proclaimed President Laurent Gbagbo to make any decision regarding their representatives.

Britain noted it has recognized Alassane Ouattara as the democratically elected president of Ivory Coast, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said.

"It recognizes the legitimacy of statements made by or on behalf of his government," the statement said. "The British government does not accept the validity of statements made by others."

A spokeswoman for Britain's Foreign and Commonwealth Office said the statement was issued "in response to reports in the press that our high commissioner has been de-recognized."

Britain's representative to Ivory Coast, Nick Westcott, lives in Ghana, she said.

Strategy to remove Ivory Coast's Gbagbo

Canada's representative was also de-recognized by Gbagbo's representatives. But Canada's minister of foreign affairs, Lawrence Cannon, said in a statement that he has not received a request from "the legitimate government of Mr. Alassane Ouattara" to end the ambassador's functions in Ivory Coast.

"Canada does not recognize Laurent Gbagbo's claim to government," Cannon said. "As such his request is illegitimate. We will continue to urge Laurent Gbagbo to cede power to President Ouattara who has been recognized internationally as the legitimate president of Cote D'Ivoire following the November 28 elections."

Independent election observers and the international community have recognized Ouattara as the winner of last November's runoff election. But Gbagbo, who has called for a recount, refuses to step down.