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Ivory Coast generals call for cease-fire, negotiate Gbagbo's surrender

Two generals close to renegade incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo are holding talks to work out the conditions under which he could surrender, French Prime Minister François Fillon said Tuesday.

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A woman walks past soldiers loyal to Alassane Ouattara as they man a checkpoint at one of the principal entrances to Abidjan, Ivory Coast, on Tuesday, April 5. Ivory Coast's entrenched strongman Laurent Gbagbo huddled in a bunker at his home and was exploring different options for his surrender, officials said Tuesday, as forces backing the country's democratically elected leader seized the residence.

Rebecca Blackwell/AP

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Fighting raged in the streets of Ivory Coast's main city of Abidjan on Tuesday as forces loyal to President-elect Alassane Ouattara targeted the presidential palace, where renegade incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo and his family are reportedly taking refuge in a basement bunker.

Two generals close to Mr. Gbagbo, meanwhile, are holding talks to work out the conditions under which he could surrender, said French Prime Minister François Fillon.

Gbagbo's top general, Phillippe Mangou, has called for a cease-fire and asked the United Nations for protection, UN spokesman Hamadoun Touré told Bloomberg.

The attack on the presidential palace comes after an unusual intervention by helicopter gunships of the UN peacekeeping force in Ivory Coast, as well as members of the French “Licorne” military force stationed in that country. The use of "all necessary measures" to protect civilians and seize heavy weapons was approved by the UN Security Council and requested by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, after what the UN called an “intensified” use of heavy weapons against civilians by Gbagbo’s troops.

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