Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

IN THE PAPERS

Shifts in the propaganda war waged between Israelis and Palestinians

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

French MPs face quandary in pro-Palestinian rallies

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Yezid Sayigh, Senior Associate at the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut

Read more

#TECH 24

Mind the Gender Gap : getting more women into the tech sector

Read more

INSIDE THE AMERICAS

Bolivian children: heading to work aged 10

Read more

WEB NEWS

Israel and Hamas battle online over public opinion

Read more

FOCUS

Can Chancellor Merkel's winning streak last?

Read more

FOCUS

Hunger in a fertile land...

Read more

DEBATE

Nigeria: One Hundred Days and Counting (part 2)

Read more

  • Live: Algerian jet with 116 on board 'crashes' in northern Mali

    Read more

  • ‘Many’ French passengers on board missing Algerian plane

    Read more

  • Iraqi parliament elects moderate Kurd as president

    Read more

  • Sudanese Christian woman sentenced to death arrives in Italy

    Read more

  • No end to fighting until Israel ends Gaza blockade, Hamas says

    Read more

  • Two foreign women shot dead in western Afghanistan

    Read more

  • At least 60 killed in attack on prison convoy near Baghdad

    Read more

  • Cycling is ‘winning the war on doping,’ says expert

    Read more

  • Ceasefire agreed for Central African Republic

    Read more

  • Can Jew-kissing-Arab selfie give peace a viral chance?

    Read more

  • In pictures: Thousands march for Gaza peace in Paris

    Read more

  • France charges Swiss bank UBS with tax fraud

    Read more

  • Israel faces heightened diplomatic pressure as Gaza violence rages

    Read more

  • Botched Arizona execution takes nearly two hours

    Read more

  • Bomb attacks leave scores dead in north Nigeria

    Read more

Africa

Ouattara, Sarkozy sign security deal in Paris

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2012-01-26

Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara and French President Nicolas Sarkozy signed a security deal on Thursday to ensure French forces offer training and equipment to the former colony without interfering in its internal affairs.

AFP - Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara met his French counterpart Nicolas Sarkozy Thursday to cement ties with Paris less than a year after French troops helped oust his predecessor.

After hour-long talks and the signing of a joint security agreement, Sarkozy vowed France would support Ouattara in rebuilding and reconciliation efforts in the cocoa-rich former French colony.

France will "help Ivorians to rebuild their country, ensure security for all and give a future to all young Ivorians," Sarkozy said at a joint press conference with Ouattara.

The security agreement will see French forces in the West African country focus on training local forces and ensure they do not interfere in internal policy, the two leaders said.

"This agreement shows that France stands at the side of Ivory Coast in its quest for security (and) that the French army is not to interfere, from near or far, in the affairs of Ivory Coast... This period is definitely over," Sarkozy said.

"This treaty is totally transparent, with the emphasis on training, on equipment," Ouattara said.

"France continues to need Ivory Coast and Ivory Coast also needs France, but of course we want Ivorians to deal with problems in Ivory Coast," he added.

France was a key ally of Ouattara after former leader Laurent Gbagbo refused to stand down despite losing a November 2010 presidential election. Around 3,000 people died in the ensuing violence.

A final push to Ivory Coast's main city Abidjan by pro-Ouattara forces backed by French and UN forces eventually toppled Gbagbo, who was taken prisoner and now faces war crimes charges at the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

Ouattara thanked Sarkozy for the intervention, saying: "Thanks to your courage, the majority of Ivorians saw a happy conclusion to this situation."

Still, sources in the French presidency said that behind the scenes Paris was concerned about reconciliation in Ivory Coast.


"The situation is better than it was a few months ago, but this is going to be a long process," one said.

Sources raised particular concern about an election last month that saw Ouattara's allies secure a vice-like grip on parliament after an election boycotted by Gbagbo's followers.

"It would have been better if Laurent Gbagbo's supporters were represented. Clearly this is not the best option," a source said. "But President Ouattara does want to glue the pieces together, he must be given credit."

Tensions in the country linger. At least one person died at the weekend when a meeting in Abidjan of Gbagbo supporters was broken up by people described by some observers as Ouattara supporters.

France's Licorne (Unicorn) peacekeeping force in Ivory Coast has been reduced to 450 troops from 1,600 at the height of the crisis. It will soon be only 300 strong.

Ouattara will meet Prime Minister Francois Fillon on Friday.

Ouattara is not planning to meet with France's Ivorian community, which includes many Gbagbo supporters. Ouattara's troops are also accused of having committed atrocities during the conflict.

Sarkozy was the only Western head of state to attend Ouattara's swearing-in in May last year.

France's military involvement in Gbagbo's arrest was aimed at promoting democratic values in Africa but resulted in accusations that France was still acting like a colonial power.

Outside the oil sector, France is Ivory Coast's largest trading partner. The former colony is the biggest economy in French-speaking west Africa.

 

 

Date created : 2012-01-26

  • France - Ivory Coast

    Defense tops agenda in Ouattara's first French visit

    Read more

  • IVORY COAST

    Clinton ‘encouraged by progress’ in Ivory Coast

    Read more

  • IVORY COAST

    Ivory Coast remains not those of missing reporter

    Read more

COMMENT(S)