Cote d’Ivoire president, opposition leader say they’ll work toward peace

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COTE D’IVOIRE President Alassane Ouattara and rival Henri Konan Bedie Wednesday said they would continue discussions aimed at restoring peace following the October 31 election that triggered clashes and left dozens dead.

Ouattara described Wednesday’s initial meeting with former president and opposition candidate Henri Konan Bedie as an ice breaker, a first step toward establishing trust.

Bedie said the two would continue to call each other in the coming days and weeks and meet so that the country returns to what it was.

Following the meeting in the commercial capital, Abidjan, the two rivals did not say if any agreement was struck to continue working together.

Bedie’s party and others in the political opposition are reportedly conditioning any movement on resolving the political conflict with the ruling party on authorities dropping criminal charges against opposition leaders for forming a rival government.

Opposition groups have been at odds with Ouattara’s controversial decision to seek a third term, which they say violates a constitutional two-term limit.

Quattara says the new constitution adopted in 2016 reset the term limit, allowing him to seek another term.

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