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Ouattara inaugurated in Ivory Coast

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Ouattara inaugurated in Ivory Coast

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YAMOUSSOUKRO, Ivory Coast — Alassane Ouattara was inaugurated as Ivory Coast’s president today, in a ceremony meant to mark the return of constitutional order and the end of a political standoff that sparked a conflict that killed hundreds earlier this year.
“The serious crisis that struck Ivory Coast the day after the election … has been resolved democratically, respecting the will of the people,” Ouattara said in a speech after receiving the country’s highest honor — a golden chain called The Great Necklace, worn by all previous presidents.
“This ceremony today is not about the victory of one side over another, but about rediscovered brotherhood and new beginnings,” he said after the ceremony.
Tens of thousands of Ouattara’s supporters streamed in to Yamoussoukro to witness the event, but no violence was reported.
The stately ceremony should have taken place six months ago after Ouattara won November’s presidential election. He was prevented from taking office by outgoing president Laurent Gbagbo, who refused to accept his defeat and who used the army to prevent Ouattara from leaving the hotel that had served as his campaign headquarters. Ouattara was forced to take the oath of office in a ceremony last December inside the hotel lobby attended only by his closest aides.
Today’s inauguration in Yamoussoukro was attended by nearly 20 heads of state, in a dramatic turnaround underscoring the broad international support he enjoys after an electoral victory that was certified by the United Nations. (AP)