(Bloomberg) -- Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara has pardoned his predecessor and political rival, former President Laurent Gbagbo. 

Gbagbo, who still faced a 20-year prison sentence for breaking into a branch of the regional central bank during the country’s 2011 post-election conflict, was pardoned in order “to strengthen social cohesion,” Ouattara said in his Independence Day address on Saturday.

“I also requested that his accounts be unfrozen and his life annuity arrears be paid,” Ouattara said.

In 2011, Gbagbo’s refusal to concede defeat to Ouattara triggered a six-month long standoff that paralyzed the economy and claimed more than 3,000 lives. He was acquitted by the International Criminal Court in 2021 of crimes against humanity.

Gbagbo returned to Ivory Coast for the first time in a decade last year.

In his speech, Ouattara commended the support of all political parties, contributing to the “remarkable progress” Ivory Coast has seen in the past decade. Continued investments and reforms should allow Ivory Coast to see growth around 7% in 2022 and in the medium term, Ouattara said.

©2022 Bloomberg L.P.