France, UN set out conditions for Gbagbo's departure

14:04, April 06, 2011      

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France's Foreign Minister Alain Juppe (C) attends a special parliamentary questions session on the situation in Cote Divoire in Paris, France, April 5, 2011. (Xinhua/Gao Jing)

France and the United Nations have set out conditions for the departure of the former President of Cote d'Voire Laurent Gbagbo, who was demanded to sign a formal document, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said Tuesday.

Speaking in front of deputies at the National Assembly, Juppe said Gbagbo has to sign a resignation document in which he promises to hand over the power to Alassane Outtara, Gbagbo's opponent who won the second round of presidential election on Nov. 28, 2010 and recognized by international community as the legitimate Ivorian leader.

"We demand, (with) the United Nations Secretary General (Ban Ki- moon), who is exactly on the same line, that the departure of Mr. Gbagbo is preceded by the publication of a document under his signature, in which he relinquished power and recognizes Ouattara as president," Juppe said.

Noting that the United Nations held the same view, Juppe said he had discussed this initiative with Ban Ki-moon.

An envoy of Gbagbo was at French embassy in Cote d'Ivoire to negotiate the terms of his departure, Juppe confirmed in the hearing, without giving the identity of the envoy.

The UN Operation in Cote d'Ivoire (UNOCI) has been told to take "all necessary steps" to "physically secure Gbagbo and his family," Juppe said, adding that the follow-up conditions concerning Gbagbo's departure will be decided by the UNOCI and the Ivorian authorities.

"We are now, I hope, close to persuade Mr. Gbagbo to quit power and let Alassane Ouattara exercise it," Juppe said.

French Prime Minister Francois Fillon said earlier also at the National Assembly that two generals close to Gbagbo had visited French embassy and expressed intentions to "negotiate surrender conditions." He didn't revealed the identities of the two senior officials.

Cote d'Ivoire has plunged into violence since Gbagbo refused to leave office and hand power to Ouattara last year. After taking most cities in the African country, Ouattara's force entered Abidjan, the stronghold of Gbagbo's force last week. Violent fights between the two camps have led to many civilian deaths and caused hundreds of thousands of refugees.

On Monday night, French President Nicolas Sarkozy authorized French force to participate the military operation in Cote d' Ivoire with UN security force in a bid to "neutralize the heavy weapons" used by Gbagbo forces against civil populations.

Source: Xinhua
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