Rosenthal: now to restore democracy to Côte d’Ivoire

‘I hope that this puts an end to the violence in Côte d’Ivoire, clearing the way for democratically elected president Alassane Ouattara and his government.’ These sentiments were expressed in a statement by Minister of Foreign Affairs Uri Rosenthal, in response to the arrest of ex-president Laurent Gbagbo in Côte d’Ivoire. ‘Now democracy must be restored to the country and human rights must be protected.’

The Netherlands is stressing the importance of an independent investigation of reported human rights violations. It had pressed in the EU for targeted sanctions against Gbagbo and his entourage. It has also made a contribution to Unicef and the International Red Cross to alleviate the humanitarian crisis.

In November 2010 then President Gbagbo lost the presidential election to his political opponent Ouattara but refused to step down. Since then, Côte d’Ivoire has seen increasing violence between supporters of Gbagbo and Ouattara. More than 1,300 people have been killed since the conflict began, and an estimated million people have been displaced.