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Ivory Coast Strongman Gbagbo Stays Put

STEVE INSKEEP, Host:

Ofeibea, what's happening now?

OFEIBEA QUIST: But what we do know is that fighting and firing has restarted in the main city Abidjan.

INSKEEP: And we should mention I guess there is some political significance to whether Gbagbo is being attacked by outsiders, as he would term them, or by his own people. But in either case these rebels have teamed up with the French and the United Nations. How is their cooperation or their collaboration best described?

QUIST: So at one moment we thought that the end of the fighting and the conflict may be in sight, which is of course what the civilians would like. And suddenly there was an about turn and the Gbagbo camp said they were negotiating a cease- fire and not his exit or surrender.

INSKEEP: Well, knowing as he does that the international community seems to agree that these elections - that he lost these elections, what other reasons has Gbagbo given for hanging on?

QUIST: But, you know, civilians are not buying it. They say there's too much violence. The elections were meant to end Ivory Coast division. But the elections have in fact got them deeper into problems after hundreds of deaths of civilians.

INSKEEP: Well, what has happened to civilians as President Gbagbo, or former President Gbagbo, perhaps we should say, is buying time for himself and the fighting goes on?

QUIST: They thought that had come yesterday, but it looks as if with the fighting or at least firing having restarted on the presidential residence today that this was going to be ended militarily perhaps and without a peaceful solution, which is what most Ivorians wants.

INSKEEP: OK. Thanks very much. That's NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.