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TOP UN OFFICIAL IN CÔTE D'IVOIRE MEETS FORMER PRESIDENT LAURENT GBAGBO

By United Nations
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4 July - The senior United Nations official in Côte d'Ivoire met today with the country's former president Laurent Gbagbo, who has been held under house arrest since April, stressing that the UN would play its part to ensure he receives appropriate protection.

Y. J. Choi, the Secretary-General's Special Representative and the head of the UN peacekeeping force (UNOCI), met Mr. Gbagbo in Korhogo, a town in the north of Côte d'Ivoire, according to a press release issued by the mission.

Mr. Gbagbo has been under house arrest since he was captured on 11 April, ending months of violence in the wake of his refusal to step down after he lost the UN-certified presidentia l run-off election in November last year to Alassane Ouattara, now the country's President.

Prosecutors at the International Criminal Court (ICC) have requested authorization to open an investigation into alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity committed following the election.

During today's meeting, the second since Mr. Gbagbo surrendered, Mr. Choi reiterated UNOCI's availability to provide security for Mr. Gbagbo, as it did in the immediate aftermath of his arrest.

“In Abidjan or anywhere else in Cote d'Ivoire, there will always be UNOCI peacekeepers contributing to his protection,” he said. “UNOCI will do everything to ensure that he is treated with dignity.”