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France - Côte d'Ivoire

France to negotiate Gbagbo’s ouster, says Sarkozy adviser

Reuters/Luc Gnago
2 min

France and its allies are set to persuade Laurent Gbagbo to cede control of Côte d’Ivoire to his internationally-backed opponent Alassane Ouattara, according to an adviser to President Nicolas Sarkozy. Thousands of young Gbagbo supporters lined up to enrol in the army on Monday.

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"It seems as though we are on the right track to securing his departure from power,” special presidential adviser Henri Guaino said on French radio station RMC on Monday.

He could not say when Gbagbo might be pushed out, but he said he was optimistic about the outcome.

Four months after November's disputed presidential elections, Gbagbo continues to refuse to cede power to Ouattara, despite pressure from the international community.

Troops loyal to Gbagbo have clashed violently with supporters backing Ouattara for several weeks, and there is rising fear of civil war.

On Monday morning thousands of young Gbagbo supporters lined up outside the army headquarters in Abidjan to enrol in the military.

General Philippe Mangou, head of the Defence and Security Forces, loyal to Gbagbo, told the conscripts that they would be called when the moment was right.

The 10,000-strong UN mission in Côte d’Ivoire is, meanwhile, under pressure from Ouattara to take stronger action to protect civilians.

“We ask the UN to move fast, the people are in danger. It must take its responsibilities,” his spokesperson Anne Ouloto told the AFP news agency.

"We can't understand that the international community has mobilised for Libya and can't take firm decisions on the Ivory Coast. It must be done immediately; it is a question of life or death.”

The UN estimates some 440 people have been killed in Côte d’Ivoire since the start of the political crisis.

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