After months of fierce fighting and bloodshed, the dispute over the Ivory Coast presidency could be coming to an end. Opposition forces backing Alassane Ouattara, the democratically elected leader, had surrounded the compound of incumbent leader Laurent Gbagbo, who for months refused to cede power.
As Gbagbo and his family huddled in the basement of his compound, three army generals who were loyal to the former leader began negotiating to surrender after calling for a cease-fire. Security for the former leader as well as his family and advisors was also being discussed, according to Reuters.
France, who aided Ouattara forces by attacking key bases and arms stockades has demanded Gbagbo’s surrender in writing and that Ouattara be recognized as president.
President Obama has urged Gbagbo to step down. “To end this violence and prevent more bloodshed, former President Gbagbo must stand down immediately and direct those who are fighting on his behalf to lay down their arms. Every day that the fighting persists will bring more suffering and further delay the future of peace and prosperity that the people of Cote d'Ivoire deserve."
As the fighting that placed the country on the brink of civil war comes to an end, Ivory Coast citizens breathe a sigh of relief and await for the next steps in the country’s future.
(Photo: ASSOCIATED PRESS/AP)