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Last Updated: Monday, 15 November, 2004, 12:22 GMT
Ivorian leader 'treated unfairly'
Laurent Gbagbo
Gbagbo heads a questionable regime, says President Chirac
Ahead of an attempt to impose an international arms embargo on the Ivory Coast government, embattled President Laurent Gbagbo told the BBC of his anger at his treatment by other countries and in particular the former colonial power, France.

I have never had peace since I was elected.

Then in 2002 I am attacked - the state of Ivory Coast is attacked.

And today they try and put me on the same level as the rebels.

That is extraordinary.

The acts France committed against us are acts of war
Laurent Gbagbo
Ivory Coast president

Even the United Nations wants to sanction the constitutional power, and leave the rebels' hands free.

The world has never seen anything like that before. Even in Angola, [Jonas] Savimbi's rebellion was condemned by the UN.

In Sierra Leone, Foday Sankoh's rebellion was condemned by the UN.

Here it is the constitutional power who is condemned, and it is the rebels who are received in all the African presidential palaces and in all the European ministries. It is not serious.

France war

The acts France committed against us are acts of war.

But as I have said before, in the world there are powerful countries and there are weak countries.

Map of Ivory Coast
29 Sept: Parliament fails to meet deadline for political reforms
15 Oct: Rebels ignore deadline for disarmament
28 Oct: Rebels withdraw from unity government
4 Nov: Government aircraft begin air strikes on rebel-held territory
6 Nov: Air strike kills nine French soldiers; France destroys Ivorian planes
7 Nov: Gbagbo supporters demonstrate against the French in Abidjan; UN condemns Ivorian attacks
8,9 Nov: Anti-French rioting
10 Nov: French begin evacuating civilians

Powerful countries are allowed to do whatever they wish, while weak countries are allowed to do nothing.

Objectively, France favours the rebels, because they ripped away from us what was our element of unquestionable superiority over the rebels.

They come and they ripped it away from us in two hours [destroyed the small Ivorian air force in retaliation for the deaths of nine French troops in a bombing raid].

So objectively France favours the rebels. Objectively.

They didn't condemn the rebels when they threatened to take up their arms again.

And when the rebels attack it is not they [the French] who the bear the brunt, it is me.

If one condemns the death of nine [French] people who aren't at war, I agree completely. That is the law, the rules.

But one mustn't ignore the rebellion's responsibilities, or even praise it, and at the same time condemn the constitutional government because it defends the fatherland.


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