US congratulates Ouattara re-election as Ivory Coast president

Ivory Coast president Alassane Ouattara waves to supporters after his victory in the presidential election on October 28, 2015 in Abidjan (AFP Photo/Issouf Sanogo) (AFP)

Washington (AFP) - The United States on Thursday congratulated Alassane Ouattara on his re-election as president of Ivory Coast, calling it a "significant victory."

Ouattara's landslide win in Sunday's peaceful election in the former French west African colony is a sharp contrast with the previous race in 2010.

In that election the sitting president, Laurent Gbagbo, refused to concede defeat, unleashing months of violence that killed some 3,000 people. Gbagbo is now awaiting trial before the International Criminal Court in The Hague on charges of crimes against humanity.

"The United States congratulates the Ivoirian people for a peaceful presidential election on October 25, which observers have judged to be credible, transparent and inclusive," US State Department spokesman John Kirby said in a statement.

The vote is "another important step toward overcoming conflicts of the past," Kirby said.

President Ouattara "has secured a significant victory, and we congratulate him."

Kirby said Washington looks forward "to working with the government and people" of Ivory Coast, and encourages them to continue strengthening the country's "governance, security, and economic institutions."

Ouattara, a 73-year-old economist, was re-elected for five years with almost 84 percent of the vote in the first round of balloting.