Ivory Coast: President Ouattara meets ex-leaders to reconcile
Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara has held talks with his predecessors Laurent Gbagbo and Henri Konan Bédié in the capital city as part of efforts to reconcile the country.
The three men have been long-time rivals and such rivalry often led to tensions for decades.
This was the trio’s first meeting together since a bitter civil war in 2010, although Ouattara last year met face to face with Laurent Gbagbo. That was their first meeting in 10 years.
It was the tension between the two political rivals in the wake of the 2010-2011 post-election dispute that sparked the brief civil way.
That conflict led to the death of more than 3,000 people and got Gbagbo facing trial at the Hague.
Laurent Gbagbo spent a decade in exile, facing years of legal procedures at the International Criminal Court.
He was acquitted of crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court (ICC).
On Thursday, President Ouattara welcomed Mr Gbagbo and Mr Bédié to a warm reception at the presidential palace where they held talks for more than an hour.
At the end, Mr Gbagbo read a brief statement to journalists, saying “Today’s meeting was a reunion to renew contact and exchange in truth on the major issues of the nation”.
The three politicians expressed hoped that the meeting would improve the political climate in Ivory Coast.
President Ouattara expressed optimism that such meetings would become regular to enable him take home his predecessors’ opinions and recommendations.