Ivorian President Ouattara to meet his predecessors Gbagbo and Bédié

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The Ivorian president Alassane Ouattara is expected to meet his two predecessors, Laurent Gbagbo and Henri Konan Bédié on July 14, the government spokesman announced on Wednesday.

"This meeting is scheduled for 14 July," said Amadou Coulibaly after the council of ministers.

"The head of state speaks regularly with the two former presidents by phone but it was also important that this meeting took place," Coulibaly added.

The idea of a meeting between the three men was one of the recommendations of the political dialogue between the government and the opposition-held earlier this year to calm the political climate in Côte d'Ivoire.

The country has experienced several political crises in recent years involving these three men, who have been at the forefront of the political scene for decades.

In 2010, the presidential duel between Laurent Gbagbo and Alassane Ouattara led to a post-election crisis that left some 3,000 people dead and led to Gbagbo's arrest in April 2011.

In 2020, electoral violence during the presidential elections left 85 people dead and 500 injured. The election, boycotted by Mr Bédié, saw the re-election of President Alassane Ouattara for a third controversial term, deemed unconstitutional by the opposition.

Acquitted by international justice, Laurent Gbagbo, president from 2000 to 2011, made his return in June 2021 in Abidjan.

He met a month later with Alassane Ouattara before launching the African People's Party - Côte d'Ivoire (PPA-CI), a new opposition formation.

Henri Konan Bédié, who led Côte d'Ivoire from 1993 to 1999 and is the leader of the opposition Democratic Party of Côte d'Ivoire (PDCI), met with Ouattara in late 2020.

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