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Laurent Gbagbo Returns To Abidjan on June 17

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Former Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo appears before the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands March 31, 2021. ICC-CPI/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. MANDATORY CREDIT

Former Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo is scheduled to fly back to a country that he once led for years, his political party announced on Monday.

Assoa Adou, secretary general of the Front populaire ivoirien (FPI), said the arrival date was a climax of several weeks of negotiations with the authorities.

Laurent Gbagbo’s party has chosen the date of the former president’s 76th birthday to make public the date of his return to his country.

“On June 17, Laurent Gbagbo will tread the soil of his ancestors, the Ivory Coast,” announced Assoa Adou, secretary general of the dissident branch of the Front populaire ivoirien (FPI).

Discussions between those close to Gbagbo and the Ivorian authorities had accelerated since the International Criminal Court (ICC) pronounced the final acquittal of the former president at the end of March.

Assoa Adou was received by Prime Minister Patrick Achi on April 30. Interior and Security Ministers Diomandé Vagondo and Reconciliation Ministers Kouadio Konan Bertin were also present.

The two delegations then met on May 3, without Patrick Achi but in the presence of several Ivorian security officials, such as the director general of the police, General Youssouf Kouyaté.

Discussions revolved around Gbagbo’s security, his status as a former president and the conditions under which he intended to return to Abidjan.

The Ivorian authorities are not showing themselves to be favorable to the popular and triumphant reception that the “GOR” (Gbagbo or nothing) dreamed of.