Ivory Coast at peace, president says

Jan. 18, 2012 at 10:18 AM
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ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast, Jan. 18 (UPI) -- Though the country faces a wide variety of challenges, today the Ivory Coast is a nation at peace, the country's president said from Abidjan.

Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara returned to his home country after attending an inauguration ceremony in neighboring Liberia for President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Ouattara said alongside Clinton that peace in Ivory Coast was important not only for Africa but for the rest of the world.

"Today, Ivory Coast is in peace," he said during a news conference. "We still have major challenges to face but we count on the reinforcement of the cooperation between our two countries."

Ivory Coast approached the brink of civil war following a disputed presidential election in 2010. Mercenaries from neighboring Liberia were tied up in some of the political conflict that left thousands dead. The country was able to hold elections for members of the legislative assembly by December, however.

Clinton praised the Ivorian people for their ability to overcome civil conflict and embark on the path toward democracy.

"And that is why I'm very pleased that Ivory Coast is once again demonstrating leadership not only at home, but in the region," she said.

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