News / Africa

Ouattara Takes Oath of Office as Ivory Coast President

Alassane Ouattara is sworn into office as Ivory Coast's president on May 6, 2011 at the presidential palace in Abidjan after months of political violence
Alassane Ouattara is sworn into office as Ivory Coast's president on May 6, 2011 at the presidential palace in Abidjan after months of political violence

Multimedia

Audio

Ivory Coast's president has taken the oath of office, formally ending the violent political crisis that followed November's disputed election. A U.N. human rights team is investigating a possible mass grave in an Abidjan suburb where the new national army has been battling loyalists of the ousted president.

President Alassane Ouattara swore to respect and defend Ivory Coast's constitution and protect the rights and liberties of all citizens.

In a brief ceremony at Abidjan's presidential palace, he said it is the start of a new era of reconciliation and unity for all Ivorians.

Ouattara has been the country's de facto leader since last month's capture of former president Laurent Gbagbo, whose refusal to hand over power sparked a wave of political violence.

Gbagbo is now under house arrest in northern Ivory Coast where prosecutors Friday questioned him about his alleged role in that violence. Two French lawyers retained by his daughter were turned back at Abidjan's airport.

President Ouattara's office says he will have a formal inauguration in the political capital Yamoussoukro May 21. Friday's oath of office followed the constitutional council officially making him president.

Constitutional council president Paul Yao N'dre says the council endorses the African Union decision to settle the crisis and therefore proclaims Alassane Ouattara President of the Republic of Ivory Coast.

N'dre helped set off this political crisis five months ago by annulling as fraudulent nearly ten percent of all ballots cast to announce Gbagbo's re-election. The United Nations certified electoral commission results that showed Ouattara won the vote by eight percent.

N'dre says the council overturned its previous ruling because Ivory Coast is a member of the African Union and recognizes "international norms and standards accepted by competent national organs" as more authoritative than internal decisions.

Fighting in Abidjan's Yopougon neighborhood has continued as militia still loyal to Gbagbo are holding out against Ouattara's new national army.

Red Cross officials say they have collected 60 bodies in Youpougon this week. The office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights says investigators are examining a possible link between an alleged mass grave in the neighborhood and a Wednesday attack on a Baptist church.

Ouattara is moving to restore security in Abidjan. He has already reopened banks and resumed cocoa exports.

The European Union is delivering $63 million of aid for the agricultural and justice sectors as the first installment of what will eventually be $261 million  in assistance.

The United States is providing $43 million to help relief groups deliver health care, clean water, and household items to displaced civilians.

World Health Organization spokesman Tarik Jasarevic says the priority now is reopening health centers that were closed by the political crisis.

"In regions of Montagna Moyen Cavally, 55 out of 106 health centers are not operational and five out of eight hospitals. And this is due to the lack of personnel. It is due to looting of drugs and medical equipment or partial or total destruction of health infrastructures. Sixty percent of health workers are absent, and those who have stayed have not received salaries for three months," he said.

WHO says it is working to help pay health workers in Ivory Coast, especially in rural areas. It says most of the health centers in Abidjan are open but do not have enough supplies.

You May Like

Pundits Split Over Long-Term US Role in Afghanistan

Security pact remains condition for American presence beyond 2014; deadline criticized More

US Eyes Islamic State Threat

Officials warn that IS could pose a threat to US homeland More

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Moscow says Russian troops crossed into Ukrainian territory by mistake 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.
Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocksi
X
George Putic
August 25, 2014 4:00 PM
How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that were eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports from the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, where one band is bringing Yiddish tango to an American audience.
Video

Video Peace Returns to Ferguson as Community Tries to Heal

Thousands of people nationwide are expected to attend funeral services Monday in the U.S. Midwestern city of St. Louis, Missouri, for Michael Brown, the unarmed African-American teenager who was fatally shot by a white police officer August 9 in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson. The shooting touched off days of violent demonstrations there, resulting in more than 100 arrests. VOA's Chris Simkins reports from Ferguson where the community is trying to move on after weeks of racial tension.
Video

Video Meeting in Minsk May Hinge on Putin Story

The presidents of Russia and Ukraine are expected to meet face-to-face Tuesday in Minsk, along with European leaders, for talks on the situation in Ukraine. Political analysts say the much welcomed dialogue could help bring an end to months of deadly clashes between pro-Russia separatists and Ukrainian forces in the country's southeast. But much depends on the actions of one man, Russian President Vladimir Putin. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Artists Shun Russia's Profanity Law

Russia in July enacted a law threatening fines for publicly displayed profanity in media, films, literature, music and theater. The restriction, the toughest since the Soviet era, aims to protect the Russian language and culture and has been welcomed by those who say cursing is getting out of control. But many artists reject the move as a patronizing and ineffective act of censorship in line with a string of conservative morality laws. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video British Fighters on Frontline of ISIS Information War

Security services are racing to identify the Islamic State militant who beheaded U.S. journalist James Foley in Syria. The murderer spoke English on camera with a British accent. It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for the Islamic State, also called ISIL or ISIS, alongside thousands of other foreign jihadists. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from the center of the investigation in London.

AppleAndroid