Cote d'Ivoire fighting has ended: French Foreign Minister

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Beijing - The French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe says fighting has ended in Cote d'Ivoire and negotiations are continuing with Laurent Gbagbo. 

Discussions are focusing on how Gbagbo might step down from power and leave the West African state.

Juppe said: "Today, as I am speaking, the fighting has stopped. Negotiations with Laurent Gbagbo and his family are now going on, to organize the conditions of his departure."

"I just had a conversation with the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who is of course on the exact same page, that the departure of Gbagbo be preceded by the publication of a document with his signature, in which he renounces power and acknowledges Ouattara as president."

Yesterday the United Nations Operation in Cote d'Ivoire (ONUCI) received three telephone calls from senior military personalities, who indicated that an order to end fighting had been issued to the Defence and Security Forces (FDS, pro-Laurent Gbagbo).

The order, which was also directed at the special forces, required them to hand over weapons to ONUCI forces in exchange for protection.

Forces backing Alassane Ouattara launched "a final battle" against the presidential palace on Monday to force Gbagbo to quit office and pass the presidency to Ouattara, who won the presidential runoff on 28 November 2010.

The international community, including the UN Security Council, has called on Gbagbo to hand over power and let Ouattara assume office.

Ouattara's force entered Abidjan, the capital, on Thursday. Fighting between the two camps has forced hundreds of thousands of civilians to flee to neighboring countries. - BuaNews-Xinhua