|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
6284th Meeting (AM)
Disappointment Expressed in Security Council at Political Impasse, Election Delay
in Côte d’Ivoire, during Briefing by Head of United Nations Mission There
Time to Reunify C ôte d’Ivoire, Says Its Speaker, Urging United Nations to Avoid
Producing Fragmented Sovereignty, Validating National Poll in Bisected Territory
Briefing the Security Council this morning, the head of the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire expressed dismay over the current political impasse in that West African country and its ramifications for the electoral process.
“It is quite regrettable to see the elections once again delayed. Our disappointment is all the more acute as elections which have been prepared for so long appeared within our grasp at the time of the establishment of the provisional electoral list last November, which was highly credible and well-balanced,” said Choi Young-Jun, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the mission, known as UNOCI.
The impasse started after Robert Mambé, former President of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), issued the second electoral list in January, Mr. Choi said. This month, a new Government and electoral commission were formed. Upcoming elections and reunification within the framework of the Ouagadougou Political Agreement would likely dominate Ivorian politics in the immediate future, as well as cause violent demonstrations and casualties, he said, noting that violence in various parts of the country had already resulted in 12 deaths and scores of serious injuries.
He said UNOCI had set three objectives for the immediate future: maintaining peace and security; safeguarding past achievements, including the provisional electoral list; and establishing the definitive electoral list as quickly as possible.
UNOCI staff and the international community in Abidjan would continue working with leaders of the Agreement to produce the definitive list as soon as possible and establish a clearer picture of the dynamics of the election and reunification process, in order to come up with a possible, detailed course of action for UNOCI before the Council’s next consultations on Côte d’Ivoire.
Speaking next, Alcide Djedje (Côte d’Ivoire) said Mr. Mambé, an opposition party member, had fraudulently registered more than 429,000 people on the electoral roll, or nearly 8 per cent of the electorate. Mr. Mambé refused to resign, which had paralysed the institution and blocked the peace process. As such, the Commission was dissolved and Mr. Mambé was replaced. The Government also had been dissolved.
“The priority must now be given to making a reliable electoral list for clean and credible elections,” Mr. Djedje said. To do that, he urged removing 429,030 people from the electoral list and conducting a full audit of the provisional list to rid it of illegitimate voters, a process that would take between one and two months. A final list would be set for the elections.
Disarmament and reunification also posed significant challenges in moving towards credible elections, he said, noting that recent events had shown the need to move quickly on those issues. The security apparatus in the rebel-controlled central north and west areas had shown its limits. The Korhogo headquarters of the Ivorian Popular Front, the President’s party, had been destroyed, and the residences of his national campaign director and other party executives had been ransacked and burned. In Katiola, in the rebel-controlled north region, the residence of the President’s spokesperson had been sacked.
“The time has come to disarm and reunify Côte d’Ivoire,” he said, adding that article 3 of the fourth amendment of the Agreement could not be delayed if free elections were to be held under United Nations-defined criteria. The country’s unity was reflected in the unity of the army, the “uniqueness” of State coffers and in the deployment of prefects and sub-prefects, who were the sole legal representatives of the State in the territorial constituencies.
For its part, the United Nations could not promote a “fragmented sovereignty” at the mercy of individual interest, he said. It could not validate a so-called national poll in a bisected territory. The Organization must make every effort to support the facilitator in the Ivorian crisis.
“Côte d’Ivoire will go to elections as soon as possible” if commitments were made to implement articles 3 and 8 of the fourth amendment of the Agreement, which related to the restoration of State authority, he said.
The meeting started at 10:11 a.m. and adjourned at 10:23 a.m.
* *** *For information media • not an official record