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Monday, May 23, 2011

Ouattara Sworn in as Ivorien President

Ivory Coast's new president Alassane Ouattara was sworn in after a bitter power struggle with his rival Laurent Gbagbo.

Up to 100,000 people were in the nation's capital, Yamoussoukro, along with French president Nicholas Sarkozy, UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon and more than 20 other heads of state for the ceremony - six months after November's election.

The political stalemate sparked a wave of massacres, enforced disappearances and sexual violence, however, since Gbagbo's arrest in April, Ouattara has promised to reconcile the deeply divided country. He has created a South African-style truth and reconciliation commission to kick start the healing process and explore the deeper backgrounds behind the political and ethnic violence.

Saturday's inauguration, says Human Rights Watch, an international rights watchdog group, is a good time to send a clear signal that "the crisis of impunity that has fuelled human rights violations in Cote d'Ivoire has ended".

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