Instant View: Ivory Coast’s Gbagbo arrested

(Reuters) – Ivory Coast’s Laurent Gbagbo, who refused to step down after a disputed presidential election, was arrested on Monday after French armored vehicles, joined by troops of his rival Alassane Ouattara, closed in on the compound where he had been holed up in a bunker.

Here is some reaction from analysts and politicians.

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* EU FOREIGN POLICY CHIEF CATHERINE ASHTON

“I reiterate my full support to President Ouattara, his government and the people of Cote d’Ivoire in their task of reconciliation, recovery and development,” she said in a statement.

“The EU has already lifted sanctions on key economic entities. We are fully committed to promoting actions to help bring peace back to the country. We will then provide long-term support to Cote d’Ivoire to … help rebuild the country..”

“It is essential that law and order are restored swiftly and that all sides show restraint,” she added.

KWESI ANING, HEAD OF RESEARCH, KOFI ANNAN INTERNATIONALPEACEKEEPING CENTER IN ACCRA

“This is just the start of the crisis. The role of French LICORNE forces undermines Ouattara’s credibility. There may be a lull for a couple of months but certainly there will be attacks to try to reverse this defeat.

“U.N. Resolution 1975 does not give French forces the right to do what they have done. Ouattara will have an uphill task convincing the people of Ivory Coast that he is his own man.

“The key to peace now is the extent to which Ouattara can act as a statesman to all.

“On the question of The Hague, Mr Gbagbo must answer charges. There may be some days of riots in Abidjan. But this is one case where African leaders will be in agreement that one of their own members has behaved in ways that need to be sanctioned in international courts.”

BRITISH FOREIGN SECRETARY WILLIAM HAGUE

“Mr Gbagbo has acted against any democratic principles in the way he has behaved in recent months and of course there have been many, many breaches of any rule of law as well,” Hague told a news conference in London.

“At the same time we would say that he must be treated with respect and any judicial process that follows should be a fair and properly organised judicial process.”

MARK SCHROEDER, POLITICAL RISK CONSULTANCY STRATFOR

“It depends on how Ouattara handles this. Is he going to proceed with some sort of trial. Will he use it as a moment for recrimination? He is in a very delicate position,” he said when asked if Gbagbo’s detention would end the fighting.

“If he is vindictive, it will bode poorly for his ability to stabilize the country right now.

“Ouattara has to play this very carefully, to manage tensions at home and placate the domestic constituents of Gbagbo and so resolve not just the electoral dispute but also in effect a 10-year-long civil war.

“And how will Guillame Soro and Ibrahim Coulibaly handle this. These are guys who have fought for 12 years to grab power. They will not want to relax their grip.

“You cannot be sure that Soro will be fully loyal to Ouattara. He has ambitions of his own. If pursuing them means intimidating particular population groups he will do it.”

KEITH FLURY, SENIOR SOFT COMMODITIES ANALYST, RABOBANK

“The cocoa futures price came down after the news of Gbagbo’s capture. There was a growing uncertainty as the impasse did not seem to be coming to an end. Now that Gbagbo has gone, that uncertainty is off the table, and will allow nearby supplies to enter the market.

“Now we’ll need to see what are the conditions of the mid crop — how much we’ll be able to get off the plantations.

“Things seem to be moving fast — the EU is moving on the sanctions front and there are reports that shipments are to move soon.”

MARTIN ROBERTS, AFRICA ANALYST, IHS GLOBAL INSIGHT

I think the French and the international community felt they had little choice but to go in and get him. The fighting in Abidjan was causing a humanitarian crisis and stopping the economy getting back on track. But it will play into Gbagbo’s story that there is an international conspiracy against him, and it is not good that Ouattara’s forces were not able to do it on their own.

“At the end of the day, even according to the U.N.-certified results 46 percent of the population voted for Gbagbo. The opposition have made it very clear that they want him to go on trial but that could prove very divisive.”

ROBERT BESSELING, SENIOR AFRICA FORECASTER, EXCLUSIVE

ANALYSIS

Asked if Gbagbo’s detention would end the fighting, he said: “No. There is likely to be continued fighting in Abidjan, Yamoussoukro and the west of the country.

“The pro-Ouattara camp is not really pro-Ouattara as much as it is anti-Gbagbo. They are more against Gbagbo than they are in favor of Ouattara. An example is Ibrahim Coulibaly, the leader of the ‘Invisible Commandos’ militia, who has said that he will run for the presidency.

“The pro-Gabgbo camp is a very large and very established collection of militias and self-defense groups united by ethnic, geographic or religion affiliation. There are segments of the military that are still loyal in Abidjan.

“The most likely outcome of Gbagbo’s detention is a transfer to The Hague, and the publicity that will generate will tend to aggravate the whole conflict again.”

(Reporting by Peter Apps, William Maclean, Mohammed Abbas and David Brough; Editing by Tim Pearce)

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Instant View: Ivory Coast’s Gbagbo arrested