14 March 2007 Welcoming this month’s peace deal between rival political leaders in the divided West African nation of Côte d’Ivoire, the Security Council today urged both sides to implement all their commitments under the accord to ensure that it takes effect.
In a press statement read out by Ambassador Dumisani Kumalo of South Africa, which holds this month’s rotating Council presidency, the 15-member panel described the deal as a good basis for finding a way out of the political stalemate in Côte d’Ivoire.
The country has been divided between the Government-controlled south and the rebel-held north since 2002, and national elections originally slated for last October have been postponed until this year.
The agreement – reached in Ouagadougou, capital of neighbouring Burkina Faso, on 4 March – between President Laurent Gbagbo and Forces Nouvelles Secretary-General Guillaume Soro commits both sides to honouring all Security Council resolutions on the issue, including the need to abide by free, fair and transparent elections.
It also tackles other key issues such as disarmament, reform and restructuring of the armed forces and the restoration of State authority throughout the country.
Mr. Kumalo said Council members commended Mr. Gbagbo and Mr. Soro for their determination to seek an accord, and he also praised Burkina Faso’s President Blaise Compaoré for his efforts as a facilitator.
The statement followed closed-door briefings today by Abou Moussa, the Secretary-General’s Principal Deputy Special Representative for Côte d’Ivoire, and the UN High Representative for Elections Gérard Stoudmann.
Mr. Moussa told journalists later that Council members felt a number of details still needed to be worked out with the help of Mr. Compaoré, including the role of the UN, the High Representative for Elections and both multilateral and bilateral donors.
Last week, in a statement issued by his spokesperson, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also welcomed the Ouagadougou accord and called for both sides to make sure they implement it.
The UN Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) has nearly 9,000 total uniformed personnel in the country, including 7,850 troops and almost 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 operation of identifying the population and registering voters.