July 16th, 2007 14:47 EST
UN mission in Côte d’Ivoire to assist with elections
The Security Council today extended until mid-January 2008 the mandate of the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) and French forces supporting it to support the holding of free and fair elections in the West African country.
By a unanimously adopted resolution, the Council terminated the mandate of the UN envoy for the elections in Cote d’Ivoire, Gerard Stoudmann, and tasked Ban Ki-moon’s Special Representative in the country with certifying all stages of the electoral process.
Deployed since April 2004, UNOCI has been helping the parties in Côte d’Ivoire – which has been divided between the rebel-held north and Government-controlled south since 2002 – to implement the Ouagadougou peace agreement signed in January 2003.
The agreement, struck in the capital of neighbouring Burkina Faso with the help of that country’s President and Chairman of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Blaise Compaoré, sets out a series of measures to deal with the political divide, including creating a new transitional Government and organizing free and fair presidential elections.
Under today’s resolution, UNOCI will continue to facilitate the full implementation of the Ouagadougou agreement, including by supporting the identification and voter registration process, the electoral process, the promotion and protection of human rights, and the economic recovery of Côte d’Ivoire.
In his latest report on UNOCI’s activities, Mr. Ban wrote that “the ultimate test for the Ouagadougou agreement” will be its ability to resolve the key issues between the parties, citing the reunification of the country, the identification of the population, the disarmament of combatants, and the re-establishment of State authority throughout Côte d’Ivoire.
Failure to effectively deal with these problems could lead to a breakdown of the peace process, with “dire consequences” for the rest of West Africa as well as Côte d’Ivoire itself, he added.
The Council also discussed Côte d’Ivoire in a separate meeting today, hearing a report of the body’s 14 to 21 June mission to Africa.
That trip also included stops in Ethiopia, Sudan, Ghana and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in support of ongoing peace efforts across the continent.