Ceasefire in place for Cote d'Ivoire's Gbagbo departure

09:59, April 06, 2011      

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Armed forces drive on a street in Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire, April 4, 2011. Cote d'Ivoire's embattled President Laurent Gbagbo proposed a cease-fire from the UN mission in the country, as forces loyal to his rival, the internationally recognized president-elect Alassane Ouattara have seized the control of the presidential residence, according to media reports on Tuesday. (Xinhua/Kong Hui)

Ceasefire is apparently in place hours after calls on Tuesday from Cote d'Ivoire's incumbent Laurent Gbagbo, who is reportedly negotiating terms of departure from power after the final offensive launched the previous day by the rival forces backed by French and UN troops.

The military offensive has halted in Abidjan, the biggest city of Cote d'Ivoire, although sporadic gunfire could be heard.

Gbagbo is being holed up in a bunker at his residence in the city, which has witnessed a decisive war over the control of the West African country since last week.

Amid reports of on-going negotiations, the latest indicated his unwillingness to surrender power to his presidential rival Alassane Outtara under the international pressure.

On the French TV channel LCI, the 65-year-old outgoing president late Tuesday voiced his legality as the country's leader, saying "Ouattara has not won the elections."

Meanwhile, he admitted that he is not "a kamikaze." "I love life. I do not wish to die. It is not my objective to die," he added.

The remarks were aired after the French presidential office denied speculation that Gbagbo had submitted to the demand for surrender in exchange for protection.

The negotiations were still going on, the office said, clarifying that Gbagbo had not surrendered.
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