With the Security Council having endorsed an African Union proposal for the appointment of a powerful new prime minister in Côte d'Ivoire by next Monday, the senior United Nations envoy to the country has said that President Laurent Gbagbo has agreed with the text.
"The President told me that he represented the State of Côte d'Ivoire and that he accepted resolution 1633 of the Security Council. Otherwise, he would be placing his country outside the community of nations," Secretary-General Kofi Annan's Special Representative, Pierre Schori, said after meeting Mr. Gbagbo yesterday in Abidjan. "This is good news. We shall move towards implementation."
He said he explained to Mr. Gbagbo the day-to-day roles of the recently established International Working Group and the Mediation Group, both to be co-chaired by the Special Representative.
According to the Council resolution, approved last Friday, the ministerial-level International Working Group would verify that a Prime Minister "acceptable to all" had broad responsibilities for security and defence, as well as the power and the resources to shepherd the country towards free, open, fair and transparent elections by the end of October 2006, according to a "road map" the Group would draw up.
The Working Group would "immediately report to the Security Council any hindrance or difficulty which the Prime Minister may face in implementing his tasks and to identify those responsible."
The International Working Group would also receive regular reports from its representatives charged with mediating, called the Mediation Group, and the Council's sanctions committee.
Elections had been scheduled for Sunday, 30 October, but were postponed for up to a year because the parties had failed to carry out all of the commitments in the peace accords they had signed.
"The 30 October date is causing anxiety to many people," Mr. Schori said. "Because of this, there is need for a message to restore calm and serenity. The President informed me that he had already thought of that."
The envoy said he was passing on a message to young and old Ivorians that there should be no violence and he noted that the resolution prohibited destructive street demonstrations, as well as acts of violence.