ICoast summons French ambassador in row over Soro warrant

8th December 2015, Comments 0 comments

Ivory Coast summoned the French ambassador Tuesday in a diplomatic row over moves by a Paris judge to interrogate the country's parliament speaker, former rebel chief Guillaume Soro.

Foreign Minister Charles Koffi Diby told AFP that he was voicing "a strong protest" against a warrant to question Soro in connection with a complaint filed by Michel Gbagbo, son of ex Ivorian president Laurent Gbagbo, currently detained awaiting trial in The Hague.

"The parliament speaker is on an official mission" on behalf of the president and has "absolute immunity" said Koffi Diby, calling for the arrest warrant to be annulled.

Soro travelled to Paris to attend international climate talks there. It was impossible to immediately confirm whether he was still in France.

A Paris magistrate had sought to question Soro over a complaint for "kidnapping, isolation and inhuman treatment" in 2012, when Soro was prime minister, several sources said.

One source close to the investigation who asked not to be identified said police had gone to Soro's Paris home on Monday but that he was absent.

His lawyers said the warrant violated diplomatic rules and that they would in turn file a complaint against Michel Gbagbo for libel.

Soro headed rebels fighting Gbagbo, who was ousted after refusing to concede defeat to his arch-rival Alassane Ouattara in 2010 presidential elections.

After weeks of violence Gbagbo was arrested when Ouattara's forces, backed by the United Nations and France, overran his compound in Abidjan in April 2011.

© 2015 AFP

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