News / Africa

France, Ivory Coast Move to Warm Relations

France's President Nicolas Sarkozy, left, and Carla Bruni-Sarkozy welcome Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara as he arrives for a state dinner at the Elysee Palace in Paris, January 26, 2012.
France's President Nicolas Sarkozy, left, and Carla Bruni-Sarkozy welcome Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara as he arrives for a state dinner at the Elysee Palace in Paris, January 26, 2012.
Lisa Bryant

Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara is wrapping up a three-day visit to France to cement new defense and business ties, but most importantly to turn the page on years of bitter relations between the two countries.

Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara has been given the red-carpet treatment during his visit here in Paris. The Champs Elysees is awash with Ivorian and French flags and French President Nicolas Sarkozy hosted him at a state dinner on Thursday night.

During a joint press conference at the Elysee Presidential palace, Sarkozy outlined the goal of a newly signed defense agreement between France and Ivory Coast.

Sarkozy said France will help Ivory Coast re-establish security, but the French army has no interest in meddling in Ivorian affairs. Under the defense agreement, French soldiers will train local forces.

That's a big difference from France's military presence in recent years. Thousands of French Licorne troops worked alongside United Nations peacekeepers to cool the decade-long conflict in the West African nation. Today, just a few hundred remain there.

Ties between Ivory Coast and its former colonial power plummeted during the conflict. French schools and businesses in Ivory Coast were attacked and thousands of French fled the country.  Ouattara's predecessor, Laurent Gbagbo, accused France of plotting his overthrow and his extradition to the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

African analyst Alain Antil, of the French Institute of International Relations, says France and Ivory Coast are resuming their old, close ties. There is a strong friendship between the two presidents.

But Ouattara's has also been talking economics here. The Ivorian president met Friday with top French business leaders.

In remarks to reporters, he called on French businesses to return to Ivory Coast. The country is at peace now, he said, with economic growth expected to reach eight or nine percent this year. France is also throwing support behind Ouattara's bid for International Monetary Fund debt relief.  

But while Sarkozy praises Ouattara's quest for peace and reconciliation in Ivory Coast, Antil says the story isn't over.

Antil says all parties to the conflict, including Ouattara's supporters, committed excesses during the conflict. There will be no peace or reconciliation in Ivory Coast if all the perpetrators are not judged.

You May Like

Turkish Public Fears Jihadists More Than Kurds

Turkey facing twin threats of terrorism by Islamic State and PKK Kurdish separatists, says President Erdogan’s ruling AK Party More

Video One Year After Massacre, Iraq’s Yazidis a Broken People

Minority community still recovering from devastating assault by IS militants which spurred massive outrage More

‘Malvertisements’ Undermine Internet Trust

Hackers increasingly prey on users' trust of major websites to delivery malicious software More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Communityi
X
Sharon Behn
August 03, 2015 2:23 PM
A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Community

A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Bangkok Warned It Soon Could Be Submerged

Italy's Venice and America's New Orleans are not the only cities gradually submerging. The nearly ten million residents of the Bangkok urban area now must confront warnings the city could become uninhabitable in a few decades. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Thai capital.
Video

Video Inclusive Gym Gets People With Disabilities in Fitness Spirit

Individuals with special needs are 58 percent more likely to be obese than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they also have an increased likelihood of anxiety, depression and social isolation. But a sports club outside Washington wants to make a difference in these people's lives. With Carol Pearson narrating, VOA's June Soh reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Special Olympics Show Competitors' Skill, Determination

Special Olympics competitions will wrap up Saturday in Los Angeles, and the closing ceremony for athletes with intellectual disabilities will be held Sunday night. In a week of competition, athletes have shown what they can do through skill and determination. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Shooter’s Grill: Serving Food with a Touch of the Second Amendment

Shooter's Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, attracts visitors from all over the world as well as local patrons. The reason? Waitresses openly carry loaded firearms as they serve food, and customers are welcome to carry them, too. VOA's Enming Liu and Lin Yang paid a visit to Shooter's Grill, and heard different opinions about this unique establishment.
Video

Video Despite Controversy, Business Owner Continues Sale of Confederate Flags

At Cooter’s, a store in rural Sperryville, Virginia, about 120 kilometers west of Washington, D.C., Confederate flags are flying off the shelves. The red, white and blue battle flag, with 13 white stars representing the Confederate states, was carried by southern forces during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s. The South had seceded from the Union over several key issues of disagreement, including slavery. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs