Ouattara: Gbagbo can quit or be forced out

Jan. 5, 2011 at 3:36 PM
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ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast, Jan. 5 (UPI) -- Laurent Gbagbo can remain in Ivory Coast as long as he agrees to step down as president without a fight, his rival, Alassane Ouattara, said Wednesday.

Ouattara, in his first televised interview since the disputed election, told France 24 he believes Gbagbo can be removed by force without causing a civil war. He said Ivory Coast "will not ignite."

"All that needs to be done, as has been done in other African countries, is to come and get Gbagbo and remove him from the presidential palace," he added.

One alternative he is not considering is negotiations for a power-sharing agreement. He said Gbagbo's offers to negotiate are not genuine.

"Laurent Gbagbo is trying to win time to recruit mercenaries and transfer suitcases full of money out of the country," Ouattara said.

Both men say they won the Nov. 28 runoff election. Ouattara has the support of the United States, the European Union, the United Nations, the African Union and the Economic Cooperation Organization of West African States. ECOWAS adopted a resolution Dec. 24 that would allow it to use troops in Ivory Coast to remove Gbagbo.

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