Britain has urged all parties in the disputed elections in Ivory Coast to respect the results announced by independent observers, who gave victory to opposition leader Alassane Ouattara.
The west African state was thrown into crisis when its constitutional court overturned the results announced by the Independent Electoral Commission and declared incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo the winner.
The Commission’s finding that Mr Ouattara won 54.1% of the vote and Mr Gbagbo 45.9% has been accepted as credible by the United Nations, African Union and White House.
US President Barack Obama has congratulated Ouattara and urged Gbagbo “to acknowledge and respect this result, and to allow Cote d’Ivoire to move forward toward a peaceful, democratic future”.
In a statement released by the Foreign Office in London, Foreign Secretary William Hague said: “The UK is extremely concerned by the unfolding situation in Cote d’Ivoire.
“The UK calls on all parties to respect the results announced by the Independent Electoral Commission and certified by the UN SRSG (special representative of the Secretary General), and to respect the will of the Ivorian people.
“At the request of all parties involved in the elections, the UN have been internationally mandated to support the peace process and certify the elections in Cote d’Ivoire. The UK condemns threats made against UN staff, and urges all parties in Cote d’Ivoire to seize the chance to set the country on a course of peaceful and responsible government.”
The presidential election was intended to restore stability to the country following a long-running civil war which began with a 2002 coup attempt against Mr Gbagbo, who has ruled Ivory Coast since 2000 without facing election.