Exit Gbagbo, with French nudge

Published on 12 April 2011 at 10:35

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“Gbagbo’s fall is a victory for France and the UN,” announces Le Figaro, in the wake of the arrest of the former Ivory Coast President by troops loyal to his internationally recognised successor Alassane Ouattara, who has benefited from military support from France, the former colonial power in the country. For the conservative daily, Gbagbo’s arrest, which brought an end to a four-month long crisis, “will highlight a basic universal message: election losers must hand over power. It is a message that is especially relevant in Africa, and France was right to demonstrate its wholehearted commitment to what was an international consensus.” However, Le Figaro’s left-wing rival Libération warns that “Sarkozy the African’s risky strategy” could result in accusations that France is once again resorting to “interventionist tactics” it has used in the past, even if the daily acknowledges that “doing nothing was not an option.” Libération quotes an African and Middle East specialist who remarks that “Paris will now be judged on its relations with a new regime that will have to contend with accusations of massacres and ethnic cleansing by forces loyal Alassane Ouattara, which have been revealed a number of investigations including one by Human Rights Watch.”

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