The meeting of appeasement?
In any case, this is what the pro-Ivorian government daily Fraternité Matin hopes for.
In 2010, the two men clashed for the presidency of Côte d'Ivoire.
It was ultimately Alassane Ouattara who won, but Laurent Gbagbo did not want to recognize his defeat, which triggered a serious political crisis and sank the country into violence.
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3,000 people were killed in deadly clashes and Laurent Gbagbo was prosecuted before the international criminal court for crimes against humanity.
The last meeting between the two men dates back to 2010, during a televised debate.
Towards an appeasement of Ivorian political life?
The two men therefore met this Tuesday at the presidential palace in Abidjan.
They hugged each other and then walked hand in hand for a few seconds.
They then spoke for about 30 minutes.
This meeting follows a previous telephone exchange between Alassane Ouattara and Laurent Gbagbo which gives rise to the hope of a reconciliation between the two enemies.
Such an outcome would make it possible to appease Ivorian political life, which remains traumatized by the events of 2010.
Cordial and fraternal meeting with my young brother Laurent Gbagbo.
We will work to build confidence for the benefit of our country.
- Alassane Ouattara (@AOuattara_PRCI) July 27, 2021
"The simple fact of seeing Ouattara and Gbagbo together is perceived as an act of appeasement and a strong image offered to Ivorians in their quest for peace and national reconciliation," wrote the opposition press Notre Voie.
For his part, the spokesperson for the party of the former President assures him: "Laurent Gbagbo is in a spirit of openness, dialogue and reconciliation".
Same story for Amadou Coulibaly, spokesperson for Alassane Ouattara's government: "There has never been an interruption in the dialogue in our country and it will continue because this is the government's will".
Laurent Gbagbo, always one foot in politics
Despite everything, it is difficult to imagine Laurent Gbagbo standing back from Ivorian political life.
Especially since, now, the former head of state is fully acquitted by international justice.
At 76, he has already asserted himself as an opponent of a president, Alassane Ouattara.
Moreover, political analyst Rodrigue Koné told AFP that this meeting would not erase the "abysmal differences" between the two men.
Read also Ivory Coast: the improbable return of former President Gbagbo
Several months ago, Laurent Gbagbo had a dialogue with a former President and now an opposition figure, Henri Konan Bédié, and did not hesitate to scratch the President in place. He notably called on him to “respect the texts” in reference to his re-election in 2020 for a controversial third term, during a presidential election boycotted by the opposition which deemed this new term unconstitutional.