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Time for Healing in Cote d'Ivoire


Ivory Coast's President Alassane Ouattara (R) shakes hands with General Philippe Mangou, chief of staff of former pro-Laurent Gbagbo Defense and Security Forces (FDS), at the Hotel du Golf in Abidjan, April 12, 2011.

With the arrest of Laurent Gbagbo, the Ivorian people may now resume the democratic process they 5 months ago when they held free and fair elections.

With the arrest of Laurent Gbagbo, the Ivorian people may now resume the democratic process they 5 months ago when they held free and fair elections. The man they elected, President Alassane Ouattara, can now take his place as leader of all Cote d' Ivoire. He has called on his fellow citizens to put down their arms and begin to work together to cement the reunification and reconciliation process on which they have been working so hard.

President Barack Obama has offered support for President Ouattara's effort to unite his country, restart the economy, restore security and reform the security forces. While all atrocities committed during the crisis must be investigated and all who committed them – regardless of party – must be held accountable, this also is a necessary part of the healing process. President Ouattara has pledged to form an inclusive government, and we applaud his intentions. We also call on the Ivorian people to respond to this and go forward with him to develop Cote d'Ivoire and fulfill its potential as a leader in the region.

The next steps include restarting the Ivorian economy and re-establishing normal trade. Now is the time to resume assistance relationships, both to relieve the current humanitarian crisis and to jumpstart the private sector. We call on the Ivorian people to work together to make this new beginning possible. The U.S. will be a strong partner to Cote d'Ivoire as you do so.

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