Liberia has installed a new transitional government designed to end nearly 15 years of continuous civil war.
The new head of Liberia's transitional government is a little-known businessman, Gyude Bryant. Rebel and government negotiators picked Mr. Bryant at peace talks in Ghana on August 22, after former President Charles Taylor went into exile in Nigeria. Mr. Bryant will take over for Interim President Moses Blah, who has served since Mr. Taylor's departure.
Rebels say the war is over now that Mr. Taylor and his government are finished, and that they will start disarming right after the inauguration.
Rebel negotiator Moses Jarbo told VOA he has full confidence in Mr. Bryant. "He comes in with a new perspective that is a business leader, someone who is not corrupted by all of the politics and I think that all of us who are for peace in our country really believe that Gyude Bryant will take us to the next level," he said.
Several African heads of state and hundreds of dignitaries were invited to take part in the inauguration ceremony.
Among the speakers, the U.N. representative in Liberia, Jacques Klein, said it was a day of hope for Liberians.
The wife of former Liberian President Charles Taylor, Jewel, also spoke, saying it was time for Liberians to turn the page and prepare a better future.
In Ivory Coast, Liberian refugee Mark Zaway said he was following the day's events closely. "We only pray, along with those that are in Liberia, that this time around peace will be restored in Liberia. Provided that those people that are causing trouble personally in Liberia are willing to see reason and cooperate with the Gyude Bryant administration and the international community then of course peace will be restored in Liberia," he said.
U.N. peacekeepers deployed in Liberia provided heavy security for the inauguration ceremony. A new Liberian parliament is also beginning its work. Its first priorities will be disarming fighters and restoring basic services.