Reconciliation a priority for Côte d'Ivoire's new govt

Côte d’Ivoire’s new government pledged on Friday to lead “reconciliation and reconstruction” as the West African country strives to recover from a bloody post-election crisis.

The 36-member Cabinet led by Prime Minister Guillaume Soro met for the first time at the presidential palace in the economic capital Abidjan.

Speaking afterward, Soro said the government’s priorities were “reconciling Ivory Coast’s sons and daughters”, security and reconstruction.

President Alassane Ouattara “regretted” the absence of former president Laurent Gbagbo’s party in the government, Soro said.

The Popular Ivorian Front had imposed conditions for its participation, including the release of Gbagbo and others.

The former ruler has been under house arrest since his arrest in April, ending a months-long stand-off over disputed November elections.

The government, which includes 14 members of Ouattara’s Rally of the Republicans party, will rule until an election scheduled for the end of the year.

Its immediate task is to re-establish order in the country, reorganise the security forces and salvage the struggling economy.

Nearly 3 000 people were killed during the unrest stemming from Gbagbo’s refusal to cede power. He was arrested on April 11 following a nearly week-long battle in Abidjan between his supporters and those of his rival. Ouattara was sworn in last month.

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