Botswana's Ian Khama invites Ouattara for state visitBy WENE OWINO in Gaborone | Tuesday, January 18 2011 at 18:44
Botswana President Ian Khama has invited the internationally recognised winner of Cote d'Ivoire’s disputed presidential elections, Alassane Ouattara to the southern African country for a state visit.
The Botswana Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement Tuesday that President Khama had invited Mr Ouattara in recognition of his victory in Cote d'Ivoire's presidential elections in November.
The statement further said President Khama discussed the visit with Mr Ouattara and the two agreed that the visit should take place at a mutually convenient time.
"They further agreed to strengthen and deepen cooperation between the two countries in the future. Botswana continues to support all efforts aimed at ensuring that Ouattara assumes the presidency in Cote d'Ivoire," the statement read in part.
Botswana has been one of the most vocal countries in support of Mr Ouattara whose contest against incumbent Laurent Gbagbo in presidential elections resulted in a stalemate with both claiming the presidency.
The West African country plunged into crisis when the Constitutional Council--headed by a Gbagbo ally-- overturned Mr Ouattara’s victory and declared Mr Gbagbo the winner of the presidential contest.
The international community recognises Mr Ouattara as the winner of the polls but Mr Gbagbo who has been in power since 2000 has refused to stand down saying he is legitimately in office.
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