Côte d’Ivoire’s Gbagbo hints at talks with rival, reports say
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Reports from Côte d'Ivoire say the country's embattled President Laurent Gbagbo wants talks with Alassane Ouattara, the internationally-endorsed leader rivalling him for power after the country's disputed elections.
"Let's sit down and talk," Gbagbo was quoted as saying by papers including state daily Fraternité Matin, in a nod to Ouattara.
Fraternité Matin quoted Gbagbo as telling traditional leaders whom he hosted at the presidential palace that "there will be no war" in Côte d’Ivoire, despite widespread warnings that his standoff with Ouattara could erupt into unrest.
Gbagbo faces growing isolation and pressure to quit power after disputed polls, with world powers and international organisations refusing to recognise him.
The United Nations Security Council, the African Union and other key international players have demanded that Gbagbo step aside for Ouattara.
After a meeting with the Nigerian foreign minister in Washington, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned of possible sanctions against Gbagbo.
"We are in full agreement that Alassane Ouattara is the rightfully elected president ... and that former President Laurent Gbagbo should respect the result of the election and peacefully transfer power to his successor," Clinton said.
She added that President Obama "sent a letter to President Gbagbo, urging him to step aside and warning him of consequences if he does not."
Consequences could include financial and travel sanctions against Gbagbo, his family and key allies.
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