Africa

Ivory Coast's President Alassane Ouattara inaugurated

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Media captionThe BBC's John James says the French president was given a warm welcome at the event

Alassane Ouattara has been inaugurated as the president of Ivory Coast in the capital, Yamoussoukro, after months of violence and political turmoil.

The ceremony was attended by many African heads of state, as well as French President Nicolas Sarkozy and the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

Mr Ouattara thanked the international community for its support and said the will of the people had triumphed.

He said the day represented a "historic moment" for the people of Ivory Coast.

He said: "This day is, for all Ivorians, the start of an era that marks our common will to write a new page in the history of our country. The grave crisis that Ivory Coast went through... is now behind us.

"This has been achieved by the victory of democracy, in other words respecting democracy and the will of the Ivorian people."

Mr Ouattara won the November presidential election but was prevented from taking office after incumbent Laurent Gbagbo refused to give up power.

Mr Gbagbo was arrested last month after a military raid on the presidential compound where he had based himself. He and the former first lady are under house arrest awaiting trial, as are many of his ministers and advisers.

Hundreds of civilians died in the fighting that erupted after both men declared themselves the winner of the poll.

Representatives from across the political spectrum were invited to the inauguration, including members of Mr Gbagbo's party.

The BBC's Barbara Plett said the ceremony was designed to reinforce Mr Ouattara's legitimacy as president after a violent power struggle with Mr Gbagbo, and to symbolise the beginning of a reconciliation process regarded as key to the country's recovery.

She adds that Mr Ouattara is keenly aware that he won only a little more than half the vote, and the presidential stand-off reignited festering ethnic tensions, with human rights groups accusing both sides of killings, rape and other crimes.

Mr Ouattara, who took the oath of office two weeks ago, has promised to promote reconciliation in the country.

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