Britain backs using force against Gbagbo

Dec. 31, 2010 at 1:15 PM   |   Comments

LONDON, Dec. 31 (UPI) -- Britain supports action to oust Laurent Gbagbo as president in the Ivory Coast, but not necessarily with British troops, Foreign Secretary William Hague said.

Hague told BBC Radio 4's "Today" program the U.K. would, "in principle," support any move by the United Nations to authorize force by West African countries. But he added, "We are a long way here from discussing British forces being deployed."

He added that London no longer recognizes Philippe Djangone-Bi, Gbagbo's ambassador, and will accept a replacement appointed by Alassane Ouattara, the internationally recognized winner of the presidential election.

The presidents of Benin, Sierra Leone and Cape Verde, representing the regional group Ecowas, are expected to return to Abidjan Monday for more talks.

The United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva said Friday it was "deeply concerned" by reports of disappearances, "extrajudicial executions" and sexual violence in Ivory Coast, and warned that perpetrators "shall be held accountable."

Youssofou Bamba, Ouattara's new ambassador to the U.N., warned that the nation may be on "the brink of genocide," The Christian Science Monitor reported Friday. U.N. officials in Abidjan told Euronews there were fears of mass graves in the city.

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