France says Gbagbo exit 'inevitable' in Ivory Coast

7th April 2011, Comments 0 comments

French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said on Thursday that Ivory Coast besieged strongman Laurent Gbagbo's departure was inevitable, although he could not say if it was a matter of hours or days.

"After Gbagbo's fall, which will inevitably happen, we will have to push a policy of pardon, of national reconciliation, of political openness that president (Alassane) Ouattara will carry out," Juppe told lawmakers.

"In this perspective, we are in very close contact with him and he is of the same spirit. He will soon make statements along these lines and we're already working on the effort that will have to be made to help this process of political reconciliation and economic reconstruction."

Gbagbo's fall "will happen inevitably in... I won't say the coming hours or days, I'm prudent," Juppe said.

On Tuesday, Juppe said France was "on the brink" of getting Gbagbo to stand down, while on Thursday he remained in his residence in Abidjan, albeit besieged by internationally recognised president Ouattara's forces.

© 2011 AFP

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