U.N. to stand by Ivory Coast

May 23, 2011 at 1:26 PM
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ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast, May 23 (UPI) -- The United Nations expresses its solidarity with the Ivorian people after enduring a political crisis that verged on civil war, the U.N. secretary-general said.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon visited Abidjan, the commercial capital of Ivory Coast, pledging to stand by the West African country after a bloody political crisis following a presidential election in which Alassane Ouattara was found by international bodies to have won.

"I want you to know that my heart is with you all," he said in a statement. "That is why I am here -- to express my solidarity with you, to offer help and hope that your lives will soon return to normal."

French forces helped fighters loyal to Ouattara arrest incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo last month, paving the way for Ouattara to take over as president.

"You have a new president -- a president who takes office by the will of the people, supported by the entire international community," said Ban. "The United Nations stood by your side during the recent crisis. We will continue to stand by you as your country rebuilds."

Ouattara called on the International Criminal Court to launch an investigation into crimes against humanity allegedly committed by Gbagbo loyalists. Ouattara was sworn in officially as president during the weekend.

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