Ivorian opposition leader Alassane Ouattara says he will return to Ivory Coast from exile in France to run for president of the west African nation.

In an interview published Sunday by a French newspaper, Nord Eclair, the former prime minister said he would stand for office as head of the "Rally for Republicans" party.

Ouattara was prevented from running for president in 2000 because of questions about his citizenship. He left Ivory Coast in 2002 for self-imposed exile in France.

The government of Ivory Coast accuses Ouattara of backing rebels who control the northern half of the country.

No date has been set for the presidential election, but it is expected to be held before the end of October.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.