Ivory Coast’s Gbagbo to return this month

Ivory Coast’s former president Laurent Gbagbo is set to return to the country this month, weeks after he was acquitted by the International Criminal Court.

The secretary general to his party, Assoa Adou, says the former leader intends to return on 17 June.

Mr Gbagbo and his former youth minister Charles Blé have been negotiating with Ivorian authorities to come back to their home country.

In early April, the incumbent president, Alassane Ouattara, said Mr Gbagbo could come back freely in Ivory Coast in the wake of a reconciliation process engaged by his government.

Since then, negotiations for his return had been going on, but no specific date had been agreed on.

The government created a reconciliation ministry headed by former opposition candidate Kouadio Konan Bertin just after the 31 October 2020 presidential election.

Recently, Adama Bictogo, the vice speaker of the Ivorian parliament and executive secretary of the RHDP (Ouattara’s party) declared that Mr Gbagbo should return without a triumphant welcome, in respect for the victims of the violence that followed his refusal to accept defeat in the 2011 presidential elections.

Both Mr Gbagbo and Mr Blé were sentenced to 20 years in prison in absentia for misappropriating funds.

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