Upbeat tone struck on Ivorian elections

Oct. 29, 2010 at 1:24 PM
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UNITED NATIONS, Oct. 29 (UPI) -- A positive security environment in the Ivory Coast bodes well for peaceful presidential elections during the weekend, the U.N. secretary-general said.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in a report on the Ivorian election said the "positive and calm political and security climate" was contributing to optimism regarding a successful election Sunday.

Elections in the Ivory Coast were delayed on several occasions since 2005. Civil war in 2002 divided the country into rebel-held north and pro-government south.

The elections are seen as a major breakthrough for Ivorians. Ban, however, said he was concerned that anti-government forces were trying to interfere in the weekend vote.

Human rights groups said they uncovered reports of sexual violence in the western part of the Ivory Coast.

U.S. President Barack Obama in a statement to the Ivorian people praised the election as a sign of post-conflict reconstruction.

"These elections are a critical step to rebuilding the Ivory Coast," he said in a statement. "The United States stands with the Ivorian people as they prepare for long-awaited democratic elections and move closer to lasting peace and prosperity in the Ivory Coast."

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