U.S. warns of violence in Ivory Coast

May 17, 2013 at 1:58 PM

WASHINGTON, May 17 (UPI) -- The security situation in Ivory Coast could quickly deteriorate despite recent security gains, the U.S. State Department warned.

Ivory Coast was pushed to the brink of civil following contested elections in 2010. Former Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo is awaiting trial at The Hague for crimes allegedly committed in the post-election violence. Human rights groups say supporters of President Alassane Ouattara may have played a role in crimes as well.

The State Department noted that April municipal and regional elections were relatively peaceful and security forces were able to address limited outbreaks of violence on their own.

"Although the security situation significantly improved in 2013, security conditions can change quickly and without warning," the warning read.

Ivorian conflict has straddled the border with neighboring Liberia at times. U.S. Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter met in Washington with Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. U.S. forces are to end a training mission for Liberian forces in December.

"The U.S.-Liberian military-to-military relationship will remain strong, shifting from tactical-level training to strategic-level training and institutional development," the Defense Department said.

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