Abidjan – The Cote d’ Ivoire Front (FPI) has said the release of its leader and former President, Laurent Gbagbo, remains crucial for genuine reconciliation in the country.
This is contained in a statement released on Monday at the end of the party’s eighth convention in Abidjan.
The statement signed by FPI’s National Chairman, Mr Pascal N’guessan, described Gbagbo as a man of peace whose policies and programmes as former president positively impacted on the country.
The two-day convention, which has the theme “A strong opposition for freedom and democracy in Cote d’Ivoire’’, ended on Saturday.
The statement described the continued detention of Gbagbo as unfair, adding “Gbagbo is a man of honour and peace. He does not deserve the treatment being given to him’’.
The FPI said Gbagbo’s release would facilitate and accelerate the process of national peace and reconciliation.
“That has been the position of our party. We want to discuss peace and reconciliation, with Gbagbo as part of the process,’’ it said.
The party further called on its members to remain committed in the fight against oppression and work towards victory in the 2015 presidential election.
The Rally for Republicans, the party of President Alassane Ouattara, had recently faulted FPI’s insistence on Gbagbo’s release as a pre-condition for reconciliation.
The party said in a statement that the situation in the country called for forgiveness and should not be built around the release of just one man.
Cote d’Ivoire, the world’s largest cocoa beans producer, was hit by a post-election violence following a disputed election between Ouattara and Gbagbo.
The violence which was reported to have caused the death of some 3,000 persons officially ended with the arrest of Gbagbo, his wife Simone, and son Michel on April 11, 2011.
While Gbagbo has remained in the custody of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, Simone is being detained in a prison cell in Odienne, northern Cote d’Ivoire.
Michel was among 13 other members of the former ruling party who were granted provisional release on Aug. 5, 2013.(NAN)