13/11/2003
Press Release
SC/7917



Security Council

4857th Meeting (AM)


SECURITY COUNCIL EXTENDS MANDATE OF COTE D’IVOIRE MISSION UNTIL 4 FEBRUARY 2004,


URGES FULL IMPLEMENTATION OF 24 JANUARY PEACE AGREEMENT WITHOUT DELAY


Resolution 1514 (2003) Adopted Unanimously;

Related Presidential Statement Expresses Concern at Slowdown in Peace Process


Reaffirming its commitment to the peace agreement in Côte d’Ivoire, the Security Council this morning extended the mandate of the United Nations special political mission in that country until 4 February 2004.


After taking that action through the unanimous adoption of resolution 1514 (2003), the Council expressed its concern over a slowdown in the Ivorian peace process through a statement read out by its President, Ismael Abraao Gaspar Martins of Angola (document S/PRST/2003/20).


In that statement, the Council urged all Ivorian political forces to implement fully, without delay or precondition, all the provisions of the Linas-Marcoussis Agreement, with a view to free and transparent elections being held in the country in 2005.


The French-brokered Agreement was reached at Linas-Marcoussis, France, on  24 January 2003 and calls upon the Government, rebels and political opposition to share power in a transitional government until elections are held.  (For further information, see Press Release SC/7657 of 4 February 2003.)


Toward those goals, the Council emphasized the importance of the earliest possible meeting of the entire Government of National Reconciliation, as well as a cantonment of relevant forces followed by their disarmament, demobilization and reintegration.  It further emphasized the urgent need to begin reforming land law and electoral rules, restore public services, extend State authority, and end the use of mercenaries and the illicit purchase of weapons.


The Council also condemned what it called grave human rights violations, as well as the murder of a journalist in Abidjan and hostile acts against United Nations personnel.  It expressed concern for the grave humanitarian situation in the field.  It commended the actions of the forces of France and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), and welcomed regional initiatives of Ghana and Nigeria.


The meeting began at 10:15 a.m. and adjourned at 10:25 a.m.


Resolution


The full text of draft resolution 1514 (2003) reads, as follows:


The Security Council,


Reaffirming its previous resolutions concerning Côte d’Ivoire, in particular its resolution 1479 (2003) of 13 May 2003 which authorized the establishment of a special political mission in Côte d’Ivoire as confirmed in the letter of the Security Council President to the Secretary-General (A/58/535), and its resolutions 1464 (2003) of 4 February 2003 and 1498 (2003) of 4 August 2003,


Having considered the report of the Secretary-General of 4 November 2003 (S/2003/1069),


Reaffirming its strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and unity of Côte d’Ivoire and reaffirming also its opposition to any attempts to take power by unconstitutional means,


Reaffirming also its endorsement of the agreement signed by the Ivorian political forces at Linas-Marcoussis on 24 January 2003 (S/2003/99) (“Linas-Marcoussis Agreement”), approved by the Conference of Heads of State on Côte d’Ivoire held in Paris on 25 and 26 January,


Stressing the urgent need for all parties to participate fully in the Government of National Reconciliation so as to enable it to implement fully all the provisions of the Linas-Marcoussis Agreement,


Stressing also the importance of the commitment of the Government of National Reconciliation to resume effective administration throughout Côte d’Ivoire and reminding all Ivorian parties of their obligation to contribute positively thereto,


Reaffirming the need for the Government of National Reconciliation to commit itself fully and immediately to the Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration programme (DDR), including the dismantling of militias, and to the restructuring of the armed forces,


Recalling the importance of the principles of good-neighbourliness, non-interference and cooperation in the relations between States of the region,


Further recalling its full support for the efforts of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and France to promote a peaceful settlement of the conflict,


Noting the continued need for MINUCI in accordance with its resolution 1479 (2003),


Noting with concern the continued existence of challenges to the stability of Côte d’Ivoire and determining that the situation in Côte d’Ivoire continues to constitute a threat to international peace and security in the region,


“1.Decides that the mandate of the United Nations special political mission in Côte d’Ivoire, MINUCI, shall be extended until 4 February 2004;

“2.Requests the Secretary-General to report to the Security Council by 10 January 2004 on MINUCI’s efforts to facilitate peace and stability in Côte d’Ivoire, including how those efforts might be improved and in particular the possible reinforcement of the United Nations presence in Côte d’Ivoire;


“3.Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.”


Presidential Statement


The full text of the presidential statement to be issued as S/PRST/2003/20 reads, as follows:


“The Security Council urges all Ivorian political forces to implement fully, without delay or precondition all the provisions of the Linas-Marcoussis Agreement, as well as those of the agreement reached in Accra on 8 March 2003 (“Accra II”) with a view to open, free and transparent elections being held in Côte d’Ivoire in 2005.


“The Security Council notes with satisfaction the progress made since the statement by its President on 25 July, in particular the appointment of Ministers of Interior and Defence, the adoption of the amnesty bill by the National Assembly, the reopening of the border with Mali and Burkina Faso, and the decisions taken by the Council of Ministers on 16 October to restore public order and reform the statute of Ivorian radio and television (RTI).


“The Security Council expresses its serious concern, however, that the implementation of the Linas-Marcoussis Agreement has slowed down.  It emphasizes in particular the importance of the entire Government of National Reconciliation meeting as soon as possible in order to implement fully the content of the Linas-Marcoussis Agreement.  It reaffirms in this context the urgency of carrying out the cantonment operations of the forces involved, to allow the beginning of disarmament and demobilization, accompanied by measures for reintegration into the regular army or civilian life.


“The Security Council further emphasizes the urgent need to begin reforming land law and electoral rules, restore public services and the authority of the State throughout the territory of Côte d’Ivoire, and end the use of mercenaries and the illicit purchase of weapons in violation of national laws.


“The Security Council condemns firmly the grave human rights violations.  It further condemns the murder of a French journalist on 21 October in Abidjan.  The Security Council calls for a full investigation by the Ivorian authorities of this crime and punishment of the perpetrators in accordance with the law.  It also calls on them to ensure that organs of the press and groups which sponsor them refrain from encouraging any remark that might incite hatred or violence.


“The Security Council expresses its concern for the grave humanitarian situation in the field.  In this contect, the Council supports the activities of all United Nations agencies aimed at assisting the Ivorian people.


“The Security Council further condemns the hostile acts against United Nations personnel in Bouaké and Man on 24 and 25 October last, and recalls that all the parties are obliged, by resolution 1479 (2003), to cooperate with the special political mission established by the Security Council, the United Nations Mission in Côte d’Ivoire (MINUCI), and to ensure freedom of movement of its personnel.


“The Security Council reiterates its full support for the efforts of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), France and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General with a view to stabilizing the country and seeking a peaceful settlement of the conflict.  The Council welcomes in particular the recent initiatives of the Presidents of Ghana and Nigeria and the holding of a regional summit in Accra on 11 November 2003 to address security problems in the region.


“The Security Council commends the action of the forces of ECOWAS and France, and that of MINUCI and pays tribute to the commitment and dedication shown by their personnel.  It also welcomes the efforts of the United Nations Office for West Africa and of all United Nations Missions in the region to coordinate their action in order to address regional issues in an appropriate manner.  It expresses its intention to examine the recommendations by the Secretary-General on ways to facilitate peace and stability in Côte d’Ivoire.”


Background


When it met this morning, the Security Council had before it the second report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Mission in Cote d’Ivoire (MINUCI) (document S/2003/1069), which provides an assessment of the implementation of the Linas-Marcoussis Agreement that was signed in January 2003 and the activities of the Mission.


In the report, the Secretary-General observes that since the last such report, of 8 August 2003, the Ivorian peace process has encountered serious difficulties.  President Gbagbo’s appointment of the Defence and Internal Security Ministers in September could have completed the assembling of the Government of National Reconciliation.  However, the opposition Forces nouvelles have rejected the appointments and pulled out of the Government.


Calling for a six-month extension of MINUCI, which seeks to build confidence between the Government's Forces Armees de Côte d'Ivoire (FANCI) and the Forces nouvelles, the Secretary-General expresses concern that, nine months after the peace agreement was signed, some key provisions have yet to be implemented.


In that regard, the fundamental issues behind the current stalemate must be identified and urgently addressed, he reports.  Among those are the insistence, by the Forces nouvelles and six other signatory parties, that insufficient powers had been delegated to the Prime Minister and the Government of National Reconciliation by President Gbagbo, who, in turn, claims that the country’s Constitution invests executive power exclusively in the President.  An article of the Constitution, however, allows the President to delegate the necessary powers, he states.


In addition, the failure of the Government of National Reconciliation to begin restructuring defence and security forces, as per the Agreement, has kept the Forces nouvelles from feeling assured of their security.  In that regard, the report notes that FANCI was subject to disarmament measures of the Agreement; it was not solely the Forces nouvelles that were required to disarm.


Hardliners on both sides exacerbate the situation, the report says, with militarists in the opposition appearing determined to hold onto weapons and territory, while key figures in the ruling party press for the rearming of FANCI.  The Secretary-General urges the Ivorian leaders to cooperate with the efforts of President John Kufuor of Ghana and other leaders of ECOWAS, which maintains a peacekeeping force in the country, to convene a meeting between President Gbagbo and the signatories of the Linas-Marcoussis accord focused on reaching agreement on the fundamental issues.


The Secretary-General notes that, although the ceasefire continues to hold between FANCI and Forces nouvelles, there is a serious danger of a possible degradation in the fragile security situation if the current stalemate persists for too long. There has already been an upsurge in violence by "uncontrolled" armed elements in northern provinces controlled by Forces nouvelles.


The humanitarian situation likewise remains worrisome in both government and opposition-controlled areas, the report states, with hundreds of thousands of people lacking access to basic health care and other public services, and tens of thousands of children facing a second consecutive year without schools.


There are currently 34 United Nations military liaison officers in the country to monitor security and help build confidence, and the Secretary-General says he has approved the deployment of the remaining 42 officers in accordance with Security Council resolution 1479, which established MINUCI. The Mission's civilian component is focusing on the human rights situation and the media, as well as on preparing for the elections to be held in 2005.  The report proposes a $29.9 million budget for the mission from 13 May 2003 to 30 June 2004.


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