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France says Gbagbo preparing to step down

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France says Gbagbo preparing to step down

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Ivory Coast’s bitter and bloody four month old power struggle appears to be in its final act.

Incumbent leader Laurent Gbagbo is on the verge of leaving office according to France.

In an address to the French parliament, Prime Minister Francois Fillon said two Ivorian generals are negotiating the conditions for Gbagbo’s surrender.

News of Gbagbo’s imminent departure comes after fierce fighting yesterday in the country’s commercial capital as forces loyal to rival presidential candidate Alassane Ouattara moved in.

French and UN helicopters also mounted an operation to destroy weapons belonging to Gbagbo’s troops. Gbagbo has refused to leave office even though the Ivorian election commission declared Ouattara the winner of November’s presidential run-off vote, a result certified by the UN.