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Ivory Coast President and Opponent Reconcile After 10 Years
 
From: Agency Report
Wed, 28 Jul 2021   ||   Nigeria,
 

Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara met with his long standing rival, Mr Laurent Gbagbo since the civil war 10 years ago.

President Ouattara and Mr Gbagbo have both been pushing for peace and reconciliation.

Mr Ouattara welcomed Mr Gbagbo into the presidential palace in the capital Abidjan on Tuesday.

"I am happy to see you," he said.

Speaking at a news conference after their meeting at the presidential palace on Tuesday, Mr Ouattara said the turmoil was behind them.

"What is important for Ivory Coast is peace in our country," he added.

The conflict began in March 2011 after Mr Gbagbo refused to admit defeat in an election and 3,000 people were killed.

Following his accqitance over charges of crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court (ICC), Mr Gbago returned to Ivory Coast last month.

Mr Gbagbo was captured at the presidential palace in April 2011 and transferred to the ICC at The Hague. After his acquittal, he lived in the Belgian capital Brussels before being invited to return to Ivory Coast by Mr Ouattara.

Although Mr Gbagbo returned last month, he still faces a 20-year prison sentence after he was convicted in absentia of looting a regional bank during the war. Mr Gbagbo called for the release of prisoners held since the civil war.

Some people see the meeting as a sign of the nation's healing but Justin Katinan Kone, Mr Gbagbo's spokesman told people not to make too much of the encounter.

Mr Gbagbo recently announced that he and another former president, Henri Konan Bédié, are strengthening a political alliance to oppose President Ouattara.

 

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