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Britain says it will support military intervention in Ivory Coast

British Foreign Secretary William Hague said that his country will support UN-sanctioned military intervention as fears of the tension devolving into genocide and civil war grow.

By Correspondent / December 31, 2010

UN peace keeper patrol vehicles secure an area in a highly visible presence in Abidjan, Ivory coast on Wednesday. President Laurent Gbagbo refuses to accept the results of the Nov.28 election and seems unable to control his supporters. Britain has announced it will support military intervention to prevent genocide and civil war.

Sunday Alamba/AP

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With Ivory Coast's defeated incumbent president still refusing to step down, British officials have said their country would support the use of United Nations-sanctioned military force to resolve the situation.

While William Hague, the United Kingdom’s foreign secretary has said the UK is not about to deploy British troops to the African nation, they are taking a number of other diplomatic measures to bring an end to the political stand-off, reports Britain’s Press Association.

The race between President-elect Alassane Ouattara and incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo was tight, and President Gbagbo refuses to leave office, even though Ouattara is recognized as the victor by the international community. Gbagbo still maintains control of the nation’s armed forces and Mr. Ouattara and his supporters are currently trapped in a hotel.

The UK is already taking a number of measures to ensure that Gbagbo hands over power to Ouattara. Britain has given “very strong support” to the Ivory Coast neighbors who recognize Ouattara as the rightful president, supported the UN Security Council’s efforts to renew the mandate to keep UN forces there, worked with the European Union to take restrictive measures against Gbagbo, and British diplomats are keeping close ties with Ouattara and his inner circle, reports BBC.

“It is time for him to recognize that he must go,” said William Hague, the UK’s foreign secretary in an interview with BBC radio. “He should not underestimate the determination of the international community that the will of that people of that country should be recognized and a democratic transfer of power take place.”

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