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The Ivorian head of state Alassane Ouattara will meet his predecessor and former rival Laurent Gbagbo on July 27, a first since their face-to-face in the 2010 presidential election, which led to a serious post-electoral crisis.
“President Alassane Ouattara will receive Laurent Gbagbo on July 27, at the presidential palace”Ivorian government spokesman Amadou Coulibaly said at a press conference.
The two men, aged 79 and 76 respectively, had “A contact” telephone in early July, he added, confirming information fromAfrica Intelligence. This will be their first meeting since the 2010 presidential election when they were opponents in the second round.
At the time, Côte d’Ivoire had experienced a serious post-electoral crisis (2010-2011) resulting from the refusal of Mr. Gbagbo, in power since 2000, to recognize his defeat in the presidential election to Alassane Ouattara.
Again in the political arena
More than 3,000 people were killed during this period and Laurent Gbagbo was arrested in April 2011, before being prosecuted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague for crimes against humanity during this period.
But Laurent Gbagbo returned to Côte d’Ivoire on June 17 after being definitively acquitted by the ICC. ” Ten years [d’absence] it’s a lot “, he had notably launched during his return to his native village of Mama (west), at the end of June.
Very quickly, he again occupied the political field, notably by going to meet on July 10 another former president and ex-rival, Henri Konan Bédié. The two men displayed a certain unity for a weekend, posing as natural opponents to the head of state.
On this occasion, Laurent Gbagbo had also called Alassane Ouattara to “Respect the texts”, in reference to his re-election in 2020 for a controversial third term, during a presidential election boycotted by the opposition which deemed this new term unconstitutional.
“A reconciliation project”
A political message that had irritated the presidential party of the Rassemblement des houphouëtistes pour la democratie et la paix (RHDP), its number two Adama Bictogo believing that Mr. Gbagbo had “No lessons in democracy” to give. But the prospect of a meeting next Tuesday pleads in favor of appeasement between the two camps.
Laurent Gbagbo who affirmed with Mr. Bédié his desire to launch “A reconciliation project” had thus underlined “The urgent need to work for the return of a final and lasting peace in Côte d’Ivoire”.
A message that seems to share the current head of state: Tuesday, on the occasion of the Muslim holiday of Eid el-Adha, known as Tabaski in West Africa, Alassane Ouattara played the appeasement by also calling for the pursuit of national reconciliation.
“May the steps that have been taken for social cohesion, for reconciliation, continue to grow stronger. May Côte d’Ivoire continue to live in peace! “, did he declare. He gave the green light for Laurent Gbagbo’s return a few days after his acquittal by the ICC.
Laurent Gbagbo remains under sentence in Côte d’Ivoire to twenty years in prison for the ” robbery “ of the Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO) during the 2010-2011 crisis, but the government hinted that it would be abandoned.