Côte d'Ivoire

Côte d'Ivoie: Gbagbo says Marcoussis accords are mere proposals

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Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire (PANA) - The peace agreement reached in France between the Ivorian government and the rebels fighting it were mere proposals, Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo said Monday night in Abidjan.
The president was speaking during an audience with leaders of several pro-governmental associations dubbed "Young Patriots" who have been demonstrating in Abidjan since Friday after the accords were announced in Marcoussis, 30 km from Paris.

The accords, which provide for the formation of a government of national reconciliation -- placed under the authority of a new Prime Minister (Seydou Diarra) endowed with extensive powers and expected to include representatives of the rebel movements -- were negatively welcomed by Gbagbo's supporters who denounced them as a "constitutional coup d'etat."

"Don't worry about the accords. What was said in Paris were mere proposals," Gbagbo said, implying that he was not bound by the effective implementation of accords signed Friday between the Ivorian political parties and the rebels.

Dwelling on certain points of the accords, basically the one concerning Article 35 of the Constitution related to the eligibility for the presidency, Gbagbo said an amendment of the article would have to go through a referendum.

"But for that to happen, all the occupied areas must totally be liberated," he added.

"I am still at the helm," Gbagbo said, as if to refute rumours about his possible resignation that spread Monday in the Ivorian business and administrative capital.

The president did not, however, rule out the possibility of resigning from office, in case, he said, his decisions no longer tallied with the promises made to the youths that "have put me at the helm."

"The day I betray you (the youths), I will just come to tell you that I am no longer president," he added.

The president's comments followed the violent anti-French protests that have rocked Abidjan for the past 36 hours, marked by a spate of looting and vandalism that injured 150 people, according to a toll issued by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

Pan African News Agency
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