Former Ivorian Defence Minister calls for Laurent Gbagbo’s release

Laurent Gbagbo after his capture.

Dr Assou Adou, Defence Minister in former Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo’s administration, on Tuesday called for the immediate release of Mr Gbagbo to ensure peace in La Cote d’Ivoire.

He pointed out that President Gbagbo was not the obstacle to peace but rather the ‘ingredient’ for peace in Cote d’Ivoire.

“We believe that the true solution to the Ivorian crisis can only be political. That solution requires an immediate pre-requisite in the liberation of President Laurent Gbagbo and all political prisoners, civilians and military, in order to start among Ivorians a high level discussion with President Alassana Quattara,” he said.

Dr Adou, currently seeking political asylum in Ghana was addressing a press conference in Accra on the predicament of President Gbagbo.

He said: “Currently, President Gbagbo is held captive in Korhogo in humiliating conditions unsuited for his dignity as a President. He is being treated like a common criminal”.

“Transferring President Gbagbo to the International Criminal Court, is to put peace permanently in jeopardy in Cote d’Ivoire.

“We believe in African initiatives for peace in Cote d’Ivoire. We are expecting sincere African initiatives that will work towards peace in Cote d’Ivoire, by releasing President Gbagbo from captivity for direct dialogue with President Ouattara,” he added.

Dr Adou recounted some decisions President Gbagbo took which were geared towards peace in Cote d’Ivoire, and cited making President Ouattara and Mr Konan Bedie to participate in the 2005 elections as well as ensuring that both of them returned home from exile in 2000, enacting an amnesty law for all rebels who attacked President Gbagbo in September 2002.

He pointed out that the Ivorian crisis did not start on November 28, 2010, but rather begun through a failed coup attempt.

“We refused the wrongful use of national and international justice systems to keep out of the Ivorian political landscape serious political adversaries,” he added.

In November 2010, the Cote d’Ivoire Constitutional Council declared President Gbagbo as winner of the general elections conducted in that country but United Nations Observers also declared the result in favour of President Ouattara.

The refusal to accept the results created an electoral dispute which led to a civil war and the subsequent arrest of President Gbagbo by French Special Forces on April 11, 2011, who handed him over to government forces.

Source: GNA

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