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Abidjan - European Union Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso pledged 115-million euros in support to Ivory Coast during a visit to the West African country on Thursday.
Closing a two-day visit to the world's prime cocoa producer, Barroso signed an agreement of budgetary support with Ivorian President Alassane Outtara, whose country suffered post-electoral violence in 2010-11.
Ivory Coast “plays a pivotal role in the stability of West Africa”, Barroso said at the Presidential Palace in Abidjan, and added that the EU wants to continue its support to the “economic powerhouse”.
“We wish to deepen the political dialogue with Ivory Coast and strengthen our support for the process of economic recovery,” Barroso said.
He added that the country should continue with a process of “reconciliation and a democratic dialogue, for the restoration of rule of law and the fight against impunity”.
Ivory Coast has recently seen armed violence, with tensions between the supporters of former president Laurent Gbagbo and current President Alassane Outtara lingering.
Gunmen in Ivory Coast in mid-October attacked military posts and a power station near Abidjan, killing one person and injuring four others. This came after attacks on areas near the border with Ghana, where supporters of former leader Laurent Gbagbo are believed to have established a base.
Gbagbo refused to concede defeat in the November 2010 presidential election, prompting a brief civil war that left about 3 000 people dead. Gbagbo is in The Hague, awaiting trial at the International Criminal Court.
Barroso and Outtara, the current chairperson of the West African block Ecowas, also discussed the role Ivory Coast could play in the resolution of the current crisis in Mali and the political limbo in Guinea-Bissau, which suffered a military coup in April.
Barroso was set to travel to Benin late on Thursday for talks with President Thomas Boni Yayi. - Sapa-dpa