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Clinton urges dialogue between rivals in Ivory Coast

iVORY COAST: Visiting US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told Ivory Coast's president Tuesday that he could only cement peace in the war-torn country by pursuing dialogue across the political divide.

"This is a crucial moment in the history of Cote d'Ivoire. The country is making a steady and hopeful return to peace and security," Clinton said after talks with Alassane Ouattara in the commercial capital Abidjan.

"Securing these gains -- for Cote d'Ivoire and the region -- will take hard work," Clinton said at a joint press conference with Ouattara.

"In the months and years ahead, it will be especially important to include all voices, even dissenting ones, in political dialogue." Washington was one of Ouattara's strongest supporters during the standoff with his predecessor Laurent Gbagbo, whose refusal to quit after his defeat in a November 2010 election triggered unrest which left around 3,000 people dead.

Gbagbo is now in The Hague awaiting trial by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity for his alleged involvement in the violence.

Clinton is on the first visit to Ivory Coast by a senior US official since the end of the deadly political crisis, part of a tour of west Africa which has already taken her to Liberia and will include a visit to Togo and Cape Verde. AFP

 

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