12 March 2007 Following the signing of a peace agreement between the rival leaders in Côte d’Ivoire, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is calling on the international community to be ready to provide key help in such fields as disarmament, security sector reform and preparations for elections in the divided West African country.
“The United Nations stands ready, and continues to prepare and assist Ivorian parties in implementing rapidly and in a comprehensive manner the many key tasks related to those processes,” he adds in his latest report on the UN Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI).
“The support of the international community for the political process should be complemented by commensurate efforts to address the humanitarian situation in the country,” he writes, urging donors to contribute generously to the 2007 UN appeal for Côte d’Ivoire.
Earlier this month, Mr. Ban welcomed the agreement signed in Ouagadougou, capital of neighbouring Burkina Faso, by President Laurent Gbagbo, whose forces control the south of a country that was the world’s top cocoa producer, and Forces Nouvelles Secretary-General Guillaume Soro, who has held the north since fighting broke out in 2002.
The Secretary-General noted at the time that the agreement builds upon Security Council resolution 1721 of last November, which underlined previous agreements calling for free, open, fair and transparent elections by 31 October this year at the latest.
UNOCI has nearly 9,000 total uniformed personnel in the country, including 7,850 troops and nearly, 1,000 police with a mandate to monitor the cessation of hostilities and movements of armed groups, help in disarmament and dismantling of militias and contribute to the security of the operations of identification of the population and registration of voters.
The mandate also includes reform of the security sector, monitoring an arms embargo, providing humanitarian assistance, facilitating the re-establishment by the Government of the authority of the State throughout Côte d’Ivoire, and support for the organization of open, free, fair and transparent elections.