Cote d'Ivoire political tension eases, opposition joining gov't possible

Cote d'Ivoire political tension eases, opposition joining gov't possible

ABIDJAN, Dec. 12 (Xinhua) -- Events of the last few days signify the easing of relations between the different political camps in Cote d'Ivoire, political analysts have told Xinhua.

After over a decade of strained political relations, the Rally of Republicans (RDR, ruling party) and the Cote d'Ivoire Popular Front (FPI, of ex-president Laurent Gbagbo) have agreed to work together.

A political dialogue was kicked off on Monday between the two camps at the RDR headquarters in Abidjan, through the FPI initiative.

According to Jerome Dago, an analyst of Cote d'Ivoire's political scene, the revival of talks between the two camps after over a decade shows the improvement of relations.

"The discussions will lay a better foundation for talks between the two main political formations," Dago said, adding that "the meeting between them shows their willingness to promote peace in Cote d'Ivoire,"

According to Henriette Diabate, an official from RDR who took part in the talks, the meeting had a symbolic dimension and will help to ease relations between the two camps.

"The most important thing is to seek national reconciliation and peace," she noted.

Speaking to journalists after the meeting, FPI president Pascal Affi N'guessan said the two camps had agreed to continue with discussions with their members to identify areas of compromise.

The delegates from the two camps said they were "satisfied" with the outcome of the discussions which were held in a "friendly" environment.

"It is good that we work together to restore normalcy in the country and consolidate the prevailing peaceful climate," said Amadou Soumahoro, the RDR secretary general.

"We urge all political actors to cultivate the spirit of dialogue and forgiveness, without which there can never be peace," Soumahoro added.

Joel Pote, the president of the PanAfrican Congress of Youths and Patriots (COJEP, pro-Gbagbo movement), termed the meeting as a success.

Just like him, the president of the PanAfrican League for Democracy in Cote d'Ivoire (LIPAD) Lacine Bamba hailed the holding of the meeting between the ruling party and the main opposition party.

He said there were many unresolved issues in Cote d'Ivoire and the political actors should continue meeting to consolidate issues they agree on and seek for ways to resolve their differences.

According to analysts, the open arms that were spread by President Alassane Ouattara towards the opposition as he began his tour of the central parts of the country on Wednesday constituted a strong signal.

Ouattara who did not rule out the possibility of the opposition joining the government, insisted on the need for peace without which there can never be development.

"Regarding our brothers in the opposition who are not in government, you should not consider them as our rivals. They are our brothers. They will join us soon," the president told his supporters during his first tour of the region.

Ouattara's declaration that came just 48 hours after the restart of talks between RDR and FPI, is the strongest hint that the opposition party could be joining government.

According to Antoine Attoungbre, a Law Scholar teaching at the University of Abidjan, "the president's decision to send his minister to the talks demonstrates his sincerity."

"The easing of strained relations between the ruling party and the opposition will give a new chance to the ongoing reconciliation process in the country," Attoungbre concluded.