President of Côte d’Ivoire and rivals meet for the first time since the civil war

Former President Laurent Gbagbo (left) and President Alassane Ouattara (right) have been pushing for reconciliation

Since the civil war 10 years ago, President Alassane Ouattara of Côte d’Ivoire met with rival Laurent Gbagbo for the first time.

Mr. Gbagbo refused to admit that he lost in the election, which triggered the conflict and killed 3,000 people.

Mr. Gbagbo returned to Côte d’Ivoire after acquitting him of crimes against humanity at the International Criminal Court (ICC) last month.

The two have been pushing for peace and reconciliation.

Mr. Ouattara welcomed Mr. Gbagbo into the presidential palace in the capital Abidjan on Tuesday.

“I’m glad to meet you,” the president told Mr. Gbagbo.

The photos at the meeting showed the two smiling and holding hands while posing for a photo.

Mr. Ouattara said at a press conference after the meeting that the turmoil has passed.

“What is important to the Jamaican coast is the peace of our country,” he added.

Mr. Gbagbo called for the release of prisoners held since the civil war.

Some people thought the meeting was a sign of national recovery, but Mr. Gbagbo’s spokesperson Justin Katinan Kone told people “don’t exaggerate” the meeting.

Mr. Gbagbo was arrested at the Presidential Palace in April 2011 and transferred to the International Criminal Court in The Hague. After he was acquitted, he lived in Brussels, the capital of Belgium, and was invited by Mr. Ouattara to return to Côte d’Ivoire.

Mr. Gbagbo returned last month and was welcomed by his supporters.

He still faces 20 years in prison after being convicted in absentia for robbing a regional bank during the civil war.

Mr. Gbagbo recently announced that he and another former president, Henry Conan Bediere, are strengthening their political alliance against President Ouattara.

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