Ambassador Carter Launches Reconciliation Programs

Quentin Kanyatsi, Country Director of SFCG, speaks with the representative of the Dialogue, Truth, and Reconciliation Commission, Minister of Veterans and Victims of War, Ambassador Phillip Carter III, and Ambassador Ahmedou Ould Abdallah

 Promoting a process of inquiry and reconciliation that supports societal healing without aggravating social and political cleavages is a major objective under the U.S. Government Transition Assistance Priorities for Cote d’Ivoire, which is the framework that guides U.S. policy and programmatic efforts over a multi-year period.   Reconciliation will obviously be an Ivoirian led process.  However, where appropriate the U.S. Government will support local actors as they pursue reconciliation programs both at the local and national levels.

In the wake of the violence following the 2010 Presidential elections, the United States convened all sectors of our government to design a Transition Assistance Plan.  Our ultimate goal is to assist our Ivoirian partners as the Government of Cote d’Ivoire builds it capacity to project authority and good governance, provide security and essential services, and enhance conditions for economic growth.  In this vein, U.S. foreign assistance will focus on democracy and governance, security sector reform, humanitarian assistance, and economic recovery, with an emphasis on reconciliation and human rights.

Ambassador Phillip Carter III, and other dignitaries with members of the “Les Enfants Sage d’Abobo Belleville” dance troupe (Dpt of State)

To fulfill our goal of supporting reconciliation efforts, U.S. Ambassador to Cote d’Ivoire Phillip Carter recently attended and spoke at the opening ceremony for two U.S. Government funded projects supporting reconciliation efforts that will be implemented by Search for Common Ground.    Taken together the U.S. Government through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor is committing $2.4 million in funding to these projects.  The first program – J’aime Mon Pays – supports reconciliation at the local level and reinforces the values of tolerance and dialogue in post conflict zones through the training of community leaders and the use of media as a vehicle to promote peace and reconciliation.  The second program – Avancons Ensemble – will focus on increasing the effective participation of the political elite and traditional leaders in the national reconciliation process.

While recognizing that healing is often a difficult process, Ambassador Carter stressed that reconciliation and social cohesion are critical to the reestablishment of the rule of law and the promotion of democratic governance and respect for human rights.  He also strongly re-emphasized U.S. Government support by stating, “Reconciliation requires not only political will from the country’s leadership, but also the engagement of the population at the grassroots and community level.  The United States stands ready to assist Cote d’Ivoire in its healing and reconciliation process”.