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Exclusive interview

Military solution would be swift and simple, Ouattara tells RFI

Reuters/Thierry Gouegnon
2 min

In an exclusive interview with RFI, Côte d'Ivoire’s recognised president, Alassane Ouattara, described his rival, outgoing leader Laurent Gbagbo as "just one man and a small group of supporters", saying an military intervention would not be an attack on the country.  

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Speaking from his blockaded hotel headquarters in Abijdan, Ouattara told RFI that while he was in favour of a peaceful end to the political stand-off, "it cannot take too long".

"Military interventions of this kind have already taken place in Africa, as in Latin America - It's not very complicated, he said.

"If the head of Ecowas decides to go ahead, they can do it - they can literally seize him from his palace," referring to the forces of the 16-member Economic Community of West African States.

In a separate interview, with RFI sister station France 24 television, Ouattara said that 63 per cent of Ivorian soldiers voted for him despite widespread belief that Gbagbo’s main support lies with the army.

Ouattara praised the “restraint” of the country’s armed forces to prevent violence. “It is the militias, the lawless militias, who are assassinating ordinary Ivorians in the neighbours,” he said.

He rejected requests for a recount as a ploy to buy time, and added there were no doubts as to the vote’s legitimacy.

The United Nations said Wednesday it could add 2,000 soldiers to its peacekeeping force in Abidjan.

“We need them tomorrow,” said Under Secretary-General Alain LeRoy. “When we will have them I don’t know.”

African leaders on Monday offered Gbagbo a final chance to accept an amnesty deal, predicated upon his abdication of power.

They received no clear answer, even though they promised a military ouster would be the result of his intransigence.

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