News / Africa

Obama Calls Ivory Coast's Newly Installed President

Ivory Coast's President-elect Alassane Ouattara
Ivory Coast's President-elect Alassane Ouattara
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U.S. President Barack Obama has called Ivory Coast's newly installed President Alassane Ouattara to congratulate him on taking power.

The White House says Mr. Obama called Mr. Ouattara Tuesday, a day after forces arrested the country's former leader Laurent Gbagbo who had refused to step down.

The White House says Mr. Obama and Mr. Ouattara discussed the importance of re-establishing trade to help restart Ivory Coast's economy.  It says they also spoke about the need to ensure that people who carried out attacks during months of political turmoil are held accountable, regardless of which side they supported.

Also Tuesday, France said it will soon provide Ivory Coast with $580 million to help its citizens restart public services and stimulate the economy.

Finance Minister Christine Lagarde said the money will fund emergency expenses for civilians, the city of Abidjan and essential public services.  

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Tuesday called on Ivory Coast to take advantage of a "historic opportunity" for national reconciliation following the arrest Mr. Gbagbo. Mr. Ban said he spoke Monday with President Ouattara, and stressed the need to ensure there is no retaliation against Mr. Gbagbo's supporters.

The U.N. says it will continue to protect civilians and help support the government in re-establishing law.

The U.N. Human Rights Council has named three experts to investigate alleged abuses that occurred after the country's disputed November presidential election.  The council said Tuesday the panel will include Vitit Muntabhorn of Thailand, Suliman Baldo of Sudan and Reine Alapini Gansou of Benin.

Both Gbagbo and Ouattara supporters are accused of killing and raping civilians during the fighting that followed the election.

Some information for this report provided by AP and AFP.

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