|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
5561st Meeting (PM)
SECURITY COUNCIL EXTENDS CÔTE D’IVOIRE TRANSITION, AIMS FOR FREE ELECTIONS
BY 31 OCTOBER 2007, UNANIMOUSLY ADOPTING RESOLUTION 1721 (2006)
Endorses Decisions Taken by African Union’s Peace and Security Council
Stresses Prime Minister Has Mandate to Implement Peace Process Road Map
Noting that yesterday was the expiration date of the transitional mandates of President Laurent Gbagbo and Prime Minister Charles Konan Banny of Côte d’Ivoire, the Security Council today extended those mandates for a period of not more than one year, aimed at fully implementing the peace process and organizing free, open, fair and transparent elections by 31 October 2007.
The Council took that action by endorsing the decisions taken by the Peace and Security Council of the African Union in Addis Ababa on 17 October 2006, as it unanimously adopted resolution 1721 (2006).
Among other such Union decisions endorsed this morning, the Council determined that no Ivorian party should invoke any legal provision to impede the peace process, which it confirmed should be led by Prime Minister Banny. It stressed that the Prime Minister shall have a mandate to implement all provisions of the road map drawn up by the International Working Group, in particular to carry out: disarmament, demobilization and reintegration; identification of population and registration of voters; dismantling of militias; restoration of State authority; technical preparations for elections; and the restructuring of the Armed Forces.
It further stressed that the Prime Minister, to carry out those tasks, must have all the necessary powers and all appropriate financial, material and human resources, as well as full and unfettered authority consistent with recommendations of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), and must be empowered to take all necessary decisions, in all matters, within the Council of Ministers or the Council of Government, including the necessary authority over the Defence and Security Forces. The Prime Minister, it added, would not be eligible to run for President in the upcoming vote.
The Council also renewed for a period of 12 months the mandate of the High Representative for the Elections. It also endorsed the decision that the African Union Chairperson, President Denis Sassou Nguesso of Congo, should lead mediation activities in the country to avoid conflicting mediation efforts.
Through the text, the Council demanded that Ivorian parties refrain from violence, end media incitement, guarantee security and free movement in the country and cooperate in all other ways with the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) and associated international organizations.
The Council meeting began at 4:02 p.m. and adjourned at 4:11 p.m.
The full text of resolution 1721 (2006) reads as follows:
“The Security Council,
“Recalling its previous resolutions and the statements of its President relating to the situation in Côte d’Ivoire,
“Reaffirming its strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and unity of Côte d’Ivoire, and recalling the importance of the principles of good-neighbourliness, non-interference and regional cooperation,
“Recalling that it endorsed the Agreement signed by the Ivorian political forces in Linas-Marcoussis on 24 January 2003 (S/2003/99) (the Linas-Marcoussis Agreement) approved by the Conference of Heads of State on Côte d’Ivoire, held in Paris on 25 and 26 January 2003, the Agreement signed in Accra on 30 July 2004 (the Accra III Agreement) and the Agreement signed in Pretoria on 6 April 2005 (the Pretoria Agreement),
“Commending the continued efforts of the African Union, the Economic Community of West African States and the leaders of the region to promote peace and stability in Côte d’Ivoire, and reiterating its full support for them,
“Paying tribute to President Thabo Mbeki of the Republic of South Africa for the untiring efforts he has deployed in the service of peace and reconciliation in Côte d’Ivoire, as well as the numerous initiatives he has taken to move forward the peace process, in his capacity as African Union Mediator, driven by his deep commitment to finding African solutions to African problems,
“Commending also the constant efforts of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Mr. Pierre Schori, and of the High Representative for the Elections, Mr. Gérard Stoudmann, and of the International Working Group (IWG), and reiterating its full support for them,
“Reaffirming its support to the impartial forces, namely the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) and the French forces which support it,
“Having taken note of the decision of the Peace and Security Council of the African Union adopted at its sixty-fourth meeting at the level of Heads of State and Government, held on 17 October 2006 in Addis Ababa (“the decision of the Peace and Security Council”) (S/2006/829),
“Having heard on 25 October 2006 the report by M. Saïd Djinnit, Commissioner of the African Union,
“Having taken note of the report of the Secretary-General dated 17 October 2006 (S/2006/821), in particular its paragraphs 68 to 80,
“Bearing in mind that the constitutional mandate of President Laurent Gbagbo expired on 30 October 2005 and the mandate of the former National Assembly expired on 16 December 2005,
“Expressing its serious concern at the persistence of the crisis and the deterioration of the situation in Côte d’Ivoire, including its grave humanitarian consequences causing large-scale civilian suffering and displacement,
“Reiterating its firm condemnation of all violations of human rights and international humanitarian law in Côte d’Ivoire,
“Determining that the situation in Côte d’Ivoire continues to pose a threat to international peace and security in the region,
“Acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations,
“1. Endorses the decision of the Peace and Security Council, underlines that its unfettered implementation requires the full support from the Council, considers therefore that the following provisions of the present resolution, based on the decision of the Peace and Security Council, aim at implementing fully the peace process in Côte d’Ivoire and at organizing free, open, fair and transparent elections in this country by 31 October 2007, and affirms that such provisions are intended to be applicable during the transition period until a newly elected President takes up his duties and a new National Assembly is elected;
“2. Takes note of the tenth final communiqué of the IWG dated 8 September 2006;
“3. Takes note of the impossibility of organizing elections, presidential and legislative, on the scheduled date and of the expiry, on 31 October 2006, of the transition period and of the mandates of President Laurent Gbagbo and Prime Minister, Mr. Charles Konan Banny;
“4. Recalls paragraphs 5 and 8 of the tenth final communiqué of the IWG dated 8 September 2006, paragraph 10 of the decision of the Peace and Security Council and paragraph 75 (a) of the report of the Secretary-General dated 17 October 2006 (S/2006/821), and, therefore, declares that the full implementation of the present resolution, consistent with paragraphs 13 and 14 of the decision of the Peace and Security Council, and of the peace process led by the Prime Minister requires full compliance by all Ivorian parties and that no legal provisions should be invoked by them to obstruct the process;
“5. Endorses the decision of the Peace and Security Council that President Laurent Gbagbo should remain Head of State as from 1 November 2006 for a new and final transition period not exceeding 12 months;
“6. Endorses the decision of the Peace and Security Council to renew the mandate of the Prime Minister, Mr. Charles Konan Banny, as from 1 November 2006 for a new and final transition period not exceeding 12 months, and endorses also the decision of the Peace and Security Council that the Prime Minister shall not be eligible to stand for the presidential elections to be organized by 31 October 2007;
“7. Stresses that the Prime Minister shall have a mandate to implement all the provisions of the road map drawn up by the IWG and of the agreements concluded between the Ivorian parties with a view to holding free, open, fair and transparent elections by 31 October 2007 at the latest, with support from the United Nations and potential donors, and to carry out, in particular:
-- The disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) programme,
-- The identification of population and registration of voters in order to compile credible electoral rolls,
-- The operations of disarmament and dismantling of militias,
-- The restoration of State authority and the redeployment of the administration and public services throughout the territory of Côte d’Ivoire,
-- The technical preparations for the elections,
-- The restructuring of the Armed Forces, in accordance with paragraph 17 of the decision of the Peace and Security Council and paragraph 3 article f) of the Linas-Marcoussis Agreement;
“8. Stresses that the Prime Minister, for the implementation of the mandate set out in paragraph 7 above, must have all the necessary powers, and all appropriate financial, material and human resources, as well as full and unfettered authority, consistent with ECOWAS recommendations, and must be empowered to take all necessary decisions, in all matters, within the Council of Ministers or the Council of Government, by ordinances or decree-laws;
“9. Stresses also that the Prime Minister, for the implementation of the mandate set out in paragraph 7 above, must also have the necessary authority over the Defence and Security Forces of Côte d’Ivoire;
“10. Recalls paragraph 10 article (iii) of the decision of the Peace and Security Council of the African Union dated 6 October 2005 (S/2005/639) and the statement of President of the Council dated 9 December 2005 (S/PRST/2005/60), reaffirms the provisions of paragraphs 6 and 7 of resolution 1633 (2005), and recalls that the Prime Minister shall have full authority over the Government that he will establish;
“11. Reaffirms that the DDR and identification processes should be carried out concomitantly, stresses the centrality of both processes to the peace process, urges the Prime Minister to implement them without delay, and calls upon all the Ivorian parties to cooperate fully with him in this regard;
“12. Demands the immediate resumption of the programme for the disarmament and dismantling of militias throughout the national territory, stresses that this programme is a key element of the peace process, and underlines the individual responsibility of the leaders of the militias in the full implementation of this process;
“13. Urges the Prime Minister to immediately take all appropriate measures, through the signing of the relevant ordinances in the conditions set out in paragraph 8 above, to expedite the issuance of birth and nationality certificates in the context of the identification process, in a spirit of equity and transparency;
“14. Demands that all the Ivorian parties concerned, in particular the Armed Forces of Forces Nouvelles and the Armed Forces of Côte d’Ivoire, participate fully and in good faith in the work of the quadripartite commission responsible for overseeing the implementation of the DDR programme and the operations for the disarmament and dismantling of militias;
“15. Invites the Prime Minister to establish immediately, in liaison with all the Ivorian parties, UNOCI and the French forces which support it, a working group responsible for submitting to him a plan on the restructuring of the Defence and Security Forces and preparing possible seminars on security sector reform to be organized by the African Union and ECOWAS, with a view to rebuilding Defence and Security Forces committed to the values of integrity and republican morality;
“16. Encourages the African Union and ECOWAS to organize seminars on security sector reform, in collaboration with partners and with the participation of commanding and senior officers from West African countries emerging from conflict, to examine, among other issues, the principles of civilian control of armed forces and personal and individual responsibility for acts of impunity or violation of human rights;
“17. Invites the Prime Minister to establish immediately, in liaison with all the Ivorian parties concerned and the High Representative for the Elections, a working group responsible for helping him implement the identification of the population and registration of voters, in order to ensure their credibility and transparency;
“18. Encourages the Prime Minister to seek, as appropriate, the active involvement of civil society in moving the peace process forward, and urges the Ivorian parties, the High Representative for the Elections together with UNOCI to take account of the rights and resources of women and of gender considerations as set out in resolution 1325 (2000) as cross-cutting issues in the implementation of the peace process including through the consultations with local and international women’s groups;
“19. Demands that all Ivorian parties end all incitement to hatred and violence, in radio and television broadcasting as well as in any other media, and urges the Prime Minister to establish and implement without delay a code of conduct for the media, in conformity with the decisions taken at Yamoussoukro on 5 July 2006 and the decision of the Peace and Security Council;
“20. Endorses the decision of the Peace and Security Council that, to avoid multiple and conflicting mediation efforts, the President Denis Sassou Nguesso of the Republic of the Congo (“the Mediator”), in his capacity as Chairperson of the African Union shall lead the mediation efforts, in liaison with the Chairperson of the Commission of the African Union and ECOWAS and, as the need may arise, in liaison with any other African leader willing to make a contribution to the search for peace in Côte d’Ivoire and underlines that the representative of the Mediator in Côte d’Ivoire will lead, in liaison with the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, the day-to-day mediation;
“21. Requests the African Union and the Economic Community of West African States to continue to monitor and follow up closely the implementation of the peace process, and invites them to review before 1 February 2007 the progress achieved, and should they deem it appropriate, to review the situation again between that date and 31 October 2007, and requests them to report to the Council, through the Secretary-General, on their assessment and, if necessary, to submit to the Council any new recommendations;
“22. Renews for a period of 12 months the mandate of the High Representative for the Elections laid down in paragraph 7 of resolution 1603 (2005), underscores that the Peace and Security Council of the African Union encouraged the High Representative for the Elections to play a greater role in the resolution of disputes linked to the electoral process, or issues arising out of the procedures and processes to be adopted to ensure open, free, fair and transparent elections, and decides therefore that, in addition to this mandate, the High Representative for the Elections, in full support of and in consultation with the Prime Minister:
-- Shall be the sole authority authorized to arbitrate with a view to preventing or resolving any problems or disputes related to the electoral process, in liaison with the Mediator;
-- Shall certify that all stages of the electoral process, including the process of identification of the population, the establishment of a register of voters and the issuance of voters’ cards, provide all the necessary guarantees for the holding of open, free, fair and transparent presidential and legislative elections in accordance with international standards;
“23. Requests UNOCI, consistent with its mandate in resolution 1609 to protect United Nations personnel, to provide security to the High Representative for the Elections, within its capabilities and its areas of deployment;
“24. Recalls paragraph 9 above, and stresses therefore that the Prime Minister must have authority over the personnel of the Defence and Security Forces of Côte d’Ivoire who ensure his close protection and provide the security of his offices, including through designating them, without prejudice to the provisions of paragraph 2 (alinea 1) of resolution 1609 (2005);
“25. Recalls the IWG’s role of guarantor and impartial arbitrator of the peace process, and requests the IWG to:
-- Establish as soon as possible, in liaison with the Prime Minister, a precise timetable for the implementation of the main components of the road map,
-- Evaluate, monitor and follow up closely the progress achieved in implementing the road map on a monthly basis,
-- Report to the Council, through the Secretary-General, on its assessment of the progress achieved and on any obstacles encountered by the Prime Minister in carrying out his mandate set out in paragraph 6 above,
-- Submit as appropriate, to all the Ivorian parties concerned and to the Council, any recommendations it deems necessary;
“26. Demands that all Ivorian parties refrain from any use of force and violence, including against civilians and foreigners, and from all kinds of disruptive street protests;
“27. Demands that all Ivorian parties guarantee the security and freedom of movement of all Ivorian nationals throughout the territory of Côte d’Ivoire;
“28. Demands that all Ivorian parties cooperate fully with the operations of UNOCI and the French forces which support it, as well as United Nations agencies and associated personnel, in particular by guaranteeing the safety, security and freedom of movement of their personnel, as well as associated personnel, throughout the territory of Côte d’Ivoire, and reaffirms that any obstacle to their freedom of movement or to the full implementation of their mandates would not be tolerated;
“29. Urges countries neighbouring Côte d’Ivoire to prevent any cross-border movement of combatants or arms into Côte d’Ivoire;
“30. Reiterates its serious concern at all violations of human rights and international humanitarian law in Côte d’Ivoire, and urges the Ivorian authorities to investigate these violations without delay in order to put an end to impunity;
“31. Recalls the individual responsibility of all Ivorian parties, including members of the Ivorian Defence and Security Forces and of the Armed Forces of the Forces Nouvelles, whatever their rank, in the implementation of the peace process;
“32. Underlines that it is fully prepared to impose targeted measures against persons to be designated by the Committee established by paragraph 14 of resolution 1572 (2004) who are determined to be, among other things, blocking the implementation of the peace process, including by attacking or obstructing the action of UNOCI, of the French forces which support it, of the High Representative for the Elections, of the IWG, of the Mediator or his representative in Côte d’Ivoire, responsible for serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law committed in Côte d’Ivoire since 19 September 2002, inciting publicly hatred and violence or in violation of the arms embargo, as provided in resolutions 1572 (2004) and 1643 (2005).
“33. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.”
The Security Council had before it the Secretary-General’s tenth progress report on the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) (document S/2006/821), which notes that, for the past four years, the international community has invested considerable resources to help the Ivorian parties take their country out of crisis. Despite these efforts, the first transition period prescribed in the Linas-Marcoussis Agreement in January 2003 ended in October 2005 without elections and with no progress on the key issues of disarmament, dismantling of the militia, and reunification of the country.
The report notes that the transition period’s extension for an additional 12 months in October 2005 had created initial hope, in particular because of Prime Minister Charles Banny’s efforts to cultivate confidence among the Ivorian political leaders as he set out to implement the mandate given to him under Security Council resolution 1633 (2005). Thanks to his political skills and perseverance, as well as the tremendous efforts exerted by the region’s leaders, the initial phases of the disarmament process, the dismantling of militia, the identification of the population and the restoration of State authority throughout the country, were launched earlier in 2006. For the first time since the start of the conflict, concrete steps have been taken to implement the core processes that are critical to its resolution.
“Regrettably, events have taken a negative and disappointing turn over the past three moths,” the Secretary-General says. The manifest lack of political will by the main Ivorian political leaders, in particular their inability to transcend narrow personal and political interests, and to put the national interest first in addressing the core issue of the identification of the population, have created yet another major stalemate. At every critical turn of the peace process, some of the main political leaders have resorted to calculated obstruction of the peace process, exploiting loopholes in the peace agreements, using legal technicalities and often inciting violent acts by their followers. Consequently, the second transition period, like the first, is coming to a close without elections.
Despite understandable frustrations, “the international community should not abandon the Ivorian people”, the Secretary-General states. He, therefore, welcomes the initiative by the leaders of ECOWAS, who have developed important recommendations concerning the way forward after the current transition period expires on 31 October. This time, ECOWAS, the African Union and the United Nations can ill afford a transition period that again ends without elections. In that context, the duration of the anticipated new transition should be determined strictly on the basis of the time required to complete the disarmament, demobilization, reintegration process, to conduct effective identification, to dismantle the militias, to re-establish State authority and to finalize the technical preparations for the elections.
“The lack of political will on the part of the Ivorian political leaders should not be allowed to impede progress again,” the Secretary-General says. To that end, it would be important to make clear that the transition’s envisaged further extension should be the last. Should they again fail to move towards elections, ECOWAS, the African Union and the Security Council should consider putting in place transitional governance arrangements comprising eminent, non-partisan personalities from civil society to complete the remaining transition processes and conduct the long overdue elections.
As the Council considers the envisaged new transition arrangements, it is important to be mindful of the need to preserve and build upon the gains made so far, in particular on the delicate disarmament and identification process, the report states. In that regard, the Council should consider preserving the agreed principle of concomitant implementation of disarmament and identification, and insisting on the resumption of the implementation of the pre-cantonment phase of the disarmament programme and the dismantling of the militia, on the basis of the already agreed procedures, with adequate resources and clear weapons criteria for the admission of individuals into the programme for dismantling the militia.
Without specific unambiguous guidance on the core issues concerning the issuance of certificates of nationality and the preparation of voters’ lists, which are at the centre not only of the current impasse, but also of the conflict itself, the anticipated new transition process will, like the previous one, go through the same vicious cycles of endless stalemates. The Secretary-General, therefore, urges the Security Council to consider ways of addressing these critical issues, taking into account the recommendations of the ECOWAS and the African Union.
To eliminate the existing loopholes and avoid previously encountered obstacles, the Secretary-General suggests that the Council consider setting ground rules and safeguards, including that international instruments that set out the special arrangements for the transition period take precedence where there may be a divergence with the Ivorian Constitution and national laws. The Prime Minister, moreover, should have the necessary authority over all relevant public offices, as well as the Defence and Security Forces, for all issues pertaining to the road map’s implementation. He should also have control over the appointment of senior public officials and the high command of the Defence and Security Forces. All commanders of the Defence and Security Forces, as well as the political leaders, should be held personally responsible for activities that disrupt the road map’s implementation, and should be subject to the imposition of individual sanctions by the Council, with the more serious cases referred to the International Criminal Court.
Regarding the transition institutions, the Secretary-General stresses the importance of establishing, under the Prime Minister’s authority, two tasks forces on: the restructuring of the Defence and Security Force; and the identification process. It is also important to ensure that the Independent Electoral Commission has the final authority on the electoral process during the transition period, and that the National Institute of Statistics operates under the direct oversight of the Independent Electoral Commission. The composition of these bodies should be reviewed by the Prime Minister, who should take the final decision on the new appointments, in order to ensure their total impartiality.
On the international community’s role, the Secretary-General recommends that the United Nations have an enhanced role in implementing the key process of disarmament, identification, the re-establishment of State authority, the dismantling and disarmament of the militias and the technical preparations for the elections. In that context, it would be necessary for the Council to review UNOCI’s mandate and to augment its resources. It is also important for the Council to closely monitor the road map’s implementation during the new transition period, in particular with a view to imposing targeted sanctions against those obstructing the peace process, or seizing the International Criminal Court.
Concerning the electoral process, it is imperative to ensure that the High Representative for the elections has the authority to make binding determinations on all issues pertaining to the electoral process, including those aspects of the peace agreements relating to electoral matters. Each stage of the electoral process should be certified by the High Representative. The role of ECOWAS and the African Union in supporting the new transition process will be equally critical. It is important for these two regional bodies to forge unity among the regional actors and mediators.
Noting that, at the extraordinary summit held on 6 October 2006 in Abuja, the ECOWAS leaders came up with concrete recommendations on the way forward in Côte d’Ivoire, the Secretary-General hopes that, in reviewing those recommendations, the planned summit of the African Union’s Peace and Security Council will come up with clear decisions that would meet the imperatives outlined for the expeditious and effective implementation of the peace process.
* *** *For information media • not an official record