The Ivory Coast’s 72-year-old president, Alassane Ouattara, is recovering in France after an operation to alleviate pain from a spinal nerve, his office said Sunday.

“The head of state is doing well” after the surgery “to do with a sciatica,” it said in a statement.

It added that Ouattara would return home “after a period of rest” but did not give a date.

President Ouattara: hospitalised in France

President Ouattara: hospitalised in France

Outtara was elected president in December 2010 after a decade of unrest in the country, which is the world’s biggest cocoa exporter.

He has announced he will stand for re-election in the next presidential election in October 2015.

His predecessor and rival, Laurent Gbagbo, 68, is in detention in The Hague, facing trial in the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity alleged to be committed in 2010-2011. Proceedings have been delayed because of his health.