Call to treat Gbagbo with 'respect'

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The Independent Online

Foreign Secretary William Hague today called for former Ivory Coast president Laurent Gbagbo to be treated with "respect" amid reports that his bloody resistance is over.

The African country has been wracked by violence as Mr Gbagbo's supporters struggled against troops loyal to Alassane Ouattara, who is internationally recognised as the winner of recent elections.

However, the ousted leader is now said to have been detained by French special forces, and handed over to Mr Ouattara.

Speaking at a press conference in London, Mr Hague said: "Mr Gbagbo has acted against any democratic principles in the way he has behaved in recent months and of course there have been many many breaches of any rule of law as well.

"At the same time we would say that he must be treated with respect and any judicial process that follows should be a fair and properly organised judicial process.

"Above all we all hope that this is now an opportunity for the people of that country who have been through so much in recent months to find a democratic way forward, a more peaceful way forward, for reconciliation to take place in that country."