Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara has concluded plans to hold a meeting with his predecessors and longtime rivals Laurent Gbagbo and Henri Konan Bedie in an effort to reconcile the West African nation ahead of elections in 2025.
The three men have dominated Ivory Coast’s fractious political scene since the 1990s.
Bedie was president from 1993 until his removal in a 1999 coup. Gbagbo governed from 2000 until his election defeat to Ouattara in 2010.
Tensions came to a head most dramatically after the 2010 election. Gbagbo refused to concede defeat, leading to a brief civil war that killed about 3,000 people before rebel forces aligned with Ouattara swept into the commercial capital of Abidjan.
Gbagbo was sent to The Hague to face charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity at the International Criminal Court. He was acquitted in 2019 and returned to Ivory Coast last year.
Ouattara has presided over relative stability during his 10 years in power. But dozens of people were killed in clashes that broke out around the 2020 election, when he stood for a third term that Gbagbo and Bedie said was unconstitutional.