Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara and opposition leader Henri Konan Bedie has assured to continue with talks aimed at restoring peace after the controversial Oct. 31 election that triggered violent clashes in the country and left at least 85 people dead, reported VOA News.
Ouattara was declared as the winner with more than 94 percent of the vote, which was boycotted by the main opposition that vowed to set up a rival government in protest over an illegal mandate. Bedie had sided with the opposition in boycotting the election.
Ouattara met Bedie on Wednesday for talks on ending election-related violence that fuelled fears the country could plunge into civil conflict. The meeting was held less than two weeks after Ouattara’s disputed re-election. The two leaders met for about 45 minutes.
“We agreed that peace is the most expensive thing for both of us, and for all Ivorians,” said the Ivory Coast’s president at the end of the meeting.
However, he did not give any more details on the content of the discussions. He added that the meeting was all about “restoring confidence” and that the “dialogue has got off to a good start”.
“In the days and weeks ahead, we will call each other and meet so that the country becomes what it was before,” the opposition leader Bedie said.
Violence in Ivory Coast began even before the election after Ouattara announced his willingness to seek a third term, which opposition groups claimed violated a constitutional two-term limit. The president maintains the approval of a new constitution in 2016 allowed him to restart his mandate.
While the violence has not been as widespread, it is feared that the situation might lead to a similar kind of civil war that followed the 2010 election. About 3,000 people died in the war, which was fought largely along ethnic lines.