Ivory Coast: Gbagbo offered teaching at US varsity if he demits office

Last Updated: Wednesday, April 13, 2011 - 15:08

Boston: Ivory Coast strongman Laurent Gbagbo, arrested by rival forces after he refused to give up power, was offered by the US to teach at Boston University here in exchange for peacefully agreeing to give up his claim to presidency in his West African country, a report said.

The US had given Gbagbo permission to lecture at the university and teach anywhere else in the country as a visiting professor.

"Laurent Gbagbo was offered the chance to teach at Boston University in the United States if he would renounce his claim to be president of Ivory Coast and end the country`s civil war," a CNN report quoted sources familiar with the negotiations as saying.

Boston University, however, denied offering a teaching job to the deposed president.

The university, which has a centre for the study of African presidential politics, said offering Gbagbo a position was "never even a consideration”.

Positions at the African Presidential Archives and Research Centre "are designated for former heads of state that leave a country in a democratic fashion," university spokesman Tom Testa said in the report.

The university further added there are "no circumstances under which we would consider him at a post at Boston University now given the lives lost as a result of his attempt to claim power at all costs."

The CNN report said a senior American diplomat confirmed that a Boston University position had been part of the offer to Gbagbo, who despite losing the November 2010 elections refused to concede power to democratically elected President Alassane Ouattara.

A spokesman for US Senator James Inhofe, an Oklahoma Republican and friend of Gbagbo, said the State Department had asked him to ask if the self-declared president would accept a position at the university.

Inhofe had "refused”, the report added.

The strongman was also promised that the International Criminal Court would not seek to charge him with crimes and that Ouattara "offered to form a cabinet with up to 30 percent of Gbagbo supporters," a senior African diplomat said in the report.

Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga, the African Union`s envoy on the crisis, had urged Gbagbo to accept the offer saying "his time was running out and it was the last deal he would be offered," the report said.

Gbabgo was captured on Monday by rival forces after French and UN forces pounded his stronghold.

The months-long civil war left hundreds dead in the cocoa-producing west African nation while tens of thousands of refugees have fled to neighbouring Liberia.

PTI



First Published: Wednesday, April 13, 2011 - 15:08

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