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Ivory Coast President Orders Reopening Of Borders With Ghana
253 days ago
(RTTNews) - Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara has ordered re-opening of the country's land and sea borders with neighboring Ghana after they were closed two weeks ago following a deadly cross-border attack, officials said late on Sunday.
"President Alassane Ouattara decided that from Monday at seven in the morning the land and sea borders will reopen," Defense Minister Paul Koffi Koffi said in a statement broadcast on national television. He added that "the two brotherly countries have strengthened their security along the common border with the aim of preventing any incursion."
The development follows the death of several people in a cross-border attack by unidentified gunmen on an Ivorian Army checkpoint in the border town of Noe on September 21. While five of the attackers were killed in the shoot-out and another five arrested, the remaining managed to flee into Ghana.
Subsequently, Ivory Coast closed its land, air and sea borders with Ghana, accusing supporters of ex-President Laurent Gbagbo, some of whom are in exile in Ghana, of carrying out the cross-border attacks. Nevertheless, flights between the two nations resumed after a few days.
Notably, Ghana President John Dramani Mahama had said soon after last month's cross-border rebel attacks that Ghanaian territory would not be allowed to use as a base for any operations against the government in Ivory Coast.
In late 2010, Ivory Coast had witnessed fierce fighting after a disputed presidential run-off election. The fighting extended for months after runner-up and incumbent Laurent Gbagbo refused to step down in favor of internationally-accepted President-elect Alassane Ouattara.
The conflict was finally halted with the arrest of Gbagbo, but had resulted in the killing of 3,000 people, besides forcing a million to flee their homes. Gbagbo has since been extradited to the Netherlands to face trial at the Hague-based International Criminal Court.
Nevertheless, the West African nation continues to face a number of key post-crisis tasks, including restoration of law and order, national reconciliation, holding of legislative elections, and economic recovery.
In July, the U.N. Security Council (UNSC) extended the mandate of its peacekeeping mission in Ivory Coast as well as that of the supporting French forces in the African nation until July 31, 2013.
In an unanimous resolution, the Council reduced the strength of the U.N. force (UNOCI) by one battalion, in line with a recommendation made by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. The Council also called on the Ivorian government to enhance dialog with the political Opposition and urged Opposition parties to contribute to reconciliation.
Incidentally, the 2010 presidential polls were held as part of international efforts to reunify Ivory Coast, which had been wrecked by a long-running civil war that split the country into government-controlled South and a rebel-held North in 2002. Prior to the civil war, Ivory Coast -- the world's biggest Cocoa exporter-- was seen as a model of enduring peace and prosperity.
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