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Long, bloody conflict resolved in Ivory Coast, new and "historic opportunity" for nation

by Jorge Hernandez on April 12, 2011

The Ivory Coast of West Africa had been engaged in a bloody civil war for months since a botched Presidential election when supporters of Laurent Gbagbo, the country's president since 2000, fought against forces of Alassane Ouattara, the internationally recognized president of the country.

The war finally came to an end when Gbagbo was arrested in Abidijan, the city that he turned into his stronghold during the conflict. Ouattara's forces were assisted by U.N. and French troops.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon recently said that the Ivory Coast should make the most of this "historic opportunity." He touched on the fact that, had Gbagbo not tried to hang onto power after the country chose Ouattara in November, the conflict would have been averted at a "far earlier stage," according to Voices of America.

Obama recognized the occasion by saying that the people of the Ivory Coast could now rebuild the country and manage a new and powerful economy.

The next step is to conduct a fair trial for Gbagbo and to investigate the numerous reports of human rights violations. The Human Rights Watch has charged both sides in the conflict of raping and killing civilians as a means of war.

France, the most heavily involved outside country in the conflict, will be donating 400 million euros to the Ivory Coast to help the country with the rebuilding process, according to Expatica.com.

The money will be used "to finance emergency spending on the population, the city of Abidjan and restarting essential public services," Finance Minister Christine Lagarde said in a statement, the news source reports. "After 10 days of fighting in the west African nation's commercial capital.

Some still fear the loyalists could possibly spark further conflicts within the country, but The Wall Street Journal reports that Gbagbo's forces have started to lay down their arms. 

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