African presidents are offering Ivory Coast’s former President Laurent Gbagbo amnesty if he peacefully hands over power to his successor.
Despite losing recent presidential elections, Gbagbo continues to hold the country in his grip, pushing it to the brink of a civil war. Gbagbo is now the center point of international pressure and high-level negotiations to hand over power to opposition leader and President-elect Alassane Ouattara.
The presidents of Nigeria, Benin, and Sierra Leone, who are negotiating with Gbagbo, are part of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
“We hope that President Gbagbo will listen intently to the message that he needs to step down. So far he hasn’t, but we certainly endorse what ECOWAS is trying to do today,” said State Department spokesperson Philip Crowley on Monday.
Citing an unnamed U.S. official, CNN reports that the U.S. government has also offered Gbagbo to come to the United States if he steps down.