January 4, 2011 / 4:04 PM / 7 years ago

I.Coast's Gbagbo agrees to lift blockade of rival

ABUJA (Reuters) - Ivory Coast’s Laurent Gbagbo has agreed to further talks over a bitter election dispute and has promised to lift a blockade around the temporary headquarters of rival Alassane Ouattara, regional bloc ECOWAS said on Tuesday.

<p>Ivory Coast's presidential claimant Alassane Ouattara (front, blue tie), Sierra Leone's President Ernest Bai Koroma (red tie), Kenya's Prime Minister Raila Odinga (2nd L), and Benin's President Boni Yayi (L) are seen after their meeting at Golf Hotel in Abidjan January 3, 2011. African leaders ended meetings in Ivory Coast on Monday without persuading Laurent Gbagbo to cede power to his rival Ouattara, but the talks will go on, one of the envoys said. REUTERS/Thierry Gouegnon</p>

“Mr. Laurent Gbagbo agreed to negotiate a peaceful end to the crisis without any preconditions. He also pledged to immediately lift the blockade around Hotel Du Golf, the temporary headquarters of Mr. Alassane Ouattara,” ECOWAS said in a communique.

It said Ouattara, who has been widely recognised as the winner of the November 28 election, had “indicated his willingness to ensure a dignified exit” for Gbagbo, provided he accepted that he had lost the polls.

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