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Gbagbo Lauds Ghana’s Democratic Strides   
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At a state luncheon held in his honour yesterday, Wednesday, November 4, 2009, Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo lauded the democratic strides chalked by Ghana and urged the country to lead Africa in the democratisation process.

Responding to a toast proposed by President John Evans Atta Mills, the Ivorian leader noted also that Ghana had shown the way to go with regard to cocoa, gold and hydro-electricity in the 20th Century and was now showing the way in the soccer domain.

“Today, Ghana is also showing the way in another area: I see former President J.J. Rawlings seated to my left also see ‘Big John’ (referring to former President J.A. Kufuor) to my right,” he said. Impressed with the fact that the two former Presidents from opposing political parties were present at the function, President Gbagbo remarked that “regrettably we do not see this elsewhere in Africa,” and urged Ghana to continue to lead the continent in democratic development.

The luncheon, which was attended by Vice-President John Mahama, members of the Council of State, Parliamentarians, Minister of State and the diplomatic corps, saw the two leaders clinking their glasses and pledging to ensure peace between their two countries so as to position them to uplift the living standards of their peoples.
President Gbagbo stressed the need for Ghana and La Cote d’Ivoire to work together to help the rest of Africa to move forward and also the need for leaders of the two countries to meet often to discuss issues of common interest.

Briefing the gathering on preparations, towards that country’s election which is expected to be conducted in the latter part of the year, President Gbagbo pledged his commitment to ensuring successful elections. He stressed his country’s commitment to shunning civil wars, saying, “it is better to carry out electoral campaigns than to go to war. The new battle is elections and we are moving towards the elections.”

Proposing the toast earlier, President Mills affirmed Ghana’s commi8tment to helping Cote d’Ivoire in its democratic process s to demonstrate to the rest o the world that Africa could stand on its own. He emphasised that Africa was not synonymous with chaos and conflicts and expressed the belief that the people of Cote d’Ivoire would come out of the elections unscathed.

President Mills said the two countries would pursue a policy of building trust, understanding and co-operation between them, and there was no need for the two countries to quarrel.

“During bilateral discussion, we underlined our commitment to ensuring peace between our two countries so that we will be in a position to build our countries to uplift the living standards of our people”, the President said.
Source: Times

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