Ivory Coast President negotiating exit with UN
Abidjan, Apr 6 (ANI): The United Nations has said the Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo's departure from power is being negotiated following a fierce assault by forces loyal to his rival Alassane Ouattara, backed by U.N. and French helicopter air strikes.
The UN said that it had received calls from Gbagbo's three top generals- the head of the armed forces, the head of the police and the head of the elite republican guard, offering to negotiate terms for surrender in return for guarantees of safety.
The negotiations came after UN and French forces opened fire with attack helicopters on Gbagbo's arms stockpiles and bases, The Guardian reports.
Gbagbo's spokesman, Ahoua Don Mello, said there were direct negotiations based on African Union recommendations, which said Alassane Ouattara is president. They are also negotiating judicial and security conditions for Gbagbo's camp and his relatives.
However, Gbagbo denied that he was willing to surrender and said his commanders were negotiating for a ceasefire.
He also criticized France for intervening in Ivory Coast. "I don't understand how an electoral dispute in Ivory Coast has brought about the direct intervention of the French army," Gbagbo said.
The former history professor turned politician refused to accept that he had lost last year's elections to his rival Ouattara.
Presently, he is sheltered in the basement of his presidential palace surrounded by Ouattara's forces.
Ouattara has urged forces to take Gbagbo alive, and his advisers have called for Gbagbo to stand trial at the international criminal court. (ANI)
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