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Côte d'Ivoire

Gbagbo rules out power sharing, Ouattara claims AU confirmation

Reuters/Thierry Gouegnon
5 min

Côte d'Ivoire’s contested leader Laurent Gbagbo ruled out any possibility of forming a power sharing government on Thursday at African Union-mediated talks in Addis Ababa. His internationally-recognised challenger, Alassane Ouattara, said the African Union confirmed his victory at the meeting.

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Gbagbo’s spokesman Don Mello said a power sharing proposal, put forth by the AU, was unacceptable.

"What is on offer is power sharing and the very principle of it is unacceptable,” he told the AFP news agency.

Instead, he called for a vote recount, like in Haiti, something the UN has already ruled out.

“If this was accepted elsewhere, why not here?” he asked. “We maintain our position.”

Ouattara said after the meeting, which Gbagbo himself did not attend, that the AU confirmed his victory in the disputed 28 November presidential elections.

"And so now the issue is definitively resolved: Alassane Ouattara is indeed the president of the republic of Côte d'Ivoire," he told reporters, adding that the AU asked him to “show openness” when forming his government and to allow Gbagbo an honourable exit.

"I have accepted to do that in the interest of peace," he said.

Meanwhile, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said that the UN force in Côte d'Ivoire would flying, despite a ban on landings and flights over the country by UN and French forces.

Gbagbo imposed the ban late Wednesday, after Ouattara left for Addis Ababa.

Joseph Lake, Economist Intelligence Unit

“I think it can be interpreted as an attempt to prevent Ouattara from returning to the country,” Joseph Lake, sub-Saharan analyst with the Economist Intelligence Unit, told RFI, adding that Ouattara may not actually want to go back.

“He’s been holed up in a hotel in Abidjan for over 100 days waiting for African leaders to visit him,” said Lake. “So Ouattara now has the opportunity to visit influential world leaders, and lobby them for further pressure, and perhaps an armed intervention.”

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