President Mukherjee arrives in Ivory Coast

Abidjan: President Pranab Mukherjee arrived here from Ghana capital Accra this afternoon on a day-and-a-half long official state visit.

The president was received at the Abidjan International Airport by President Alassane Ouattara and his entourage.

He was introduced to the Governor of Abidjan, Mr. Robert Beugre Mambe, the Mayor of Port Bouet (the municipality where the airport is located) Mrs.Aka Anghui and Defence Minister Mr. Alan Richard Donwahi.

The president then inspected a guard of honour on the invitation of the parade commander

During his stay in Abidjan, the economic capital of Cote D Ivoire, the president will have delegation-level talks with his Cote D Ivoire counterpart. The national anthems of the two countries were played on the occasion and a 21-gun salute was offered as a mark of honour for the visiting dignitary.

The president was introduced to the Prime Minister of Cote D Ivoire, Mr. Daniel Duncan Kablan, and other ministers .

The Indian delegation accompanying President Mukherjee was then introduced to President Quattara by India’s Ambassador R.Ravindra.

The ceremonial reception at the airport was followed by a meeting with the heads of various diplomatic missions and a brief tete-e-tete between the two presidents in the presidential pavilion.

Thereafter, the presidential motorcade moved into the centre of the city.

On Tuesday afternoon, both sides will engage in delegation-level talks at the presidential palace. The meeting will be followed by a signing of agreements at the Sal de Pas Perdus/Concourse.

The agreement signing ceremony will be followed by an interview given to the state broadcaster of Cote D Ivoire RTI.

President Mukherjee will also receive the Cote D Ivoire’s highest National Order of the Cote D Ivoire for individual merit and distinguished service the nation, and thereafter, will attend a state banquet organised in his honour by President Ouattara.

India and Cote D Ivoire have traditionally enjoyed cordial relations. India established its embassy in Abidjan in 1979, while Cote D Ivoire opened its resident mission in New Delhi in September 2004.

Bilateral visits between the two countries have been consistent since 2005-2006.

India has contributed to the Ivory Coast (the English name of Cote D Ivoire) in terms of cooperation in electoral matters; capacity building and human resource development under the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) programme. In the last year, there have been 80 such programmes that have been activated. India has also emerged as an important learning centre for Ivorian students, particularly for ICT studies, commerce and management degrees. In the last three years, about 500 Ivorian students have come to India to pursue advanced studies.

The Ivory Coast also has an active Indian community of about 1500 persons who are engaged in diverse fields such as mining, manufacturing, trade and general merchandise business. Eight Indian Army officers are engaged in UN peacekeeping operations here. There are also 17 Indians working with the African Development Bank (ADB). (ANI)