15 January 2008 The Security Council today renewed the mandate of the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) and French forces supporting it until 30 July so the world body can support the holding of free, open, fair and transparent elections.
In a unanimously adopted resolution, the Council said it will review by 30 July the mandates of UNOCI and the French force, as well as UN troop levels, “in light of the progress achieved in the implementation of the key steps of the peace process.”
Deployed since April 2004, UNOCI has been helping the parties in Côte d’Ivoire – which has been divided between the rebel-held north and Government-controlled south since 2002 – to implement the Ouagadougou peace agreement signed in January 2003.
The agreement, struck in the capital of neighbouring Burkina Faso with the help of that country’s President and Chairman of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Blaise Compaoré, sets out a series of measures to deal with the political divide, including creating a new transitional Government and organizing free and fair presidential elections.
While security and political conditions in Côte d’Ivoire have improved in recent months, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has cautioned that these are fragile gains given the slow progress in achieving key benchmarks of last year’s peace agreement, including dismantling militias.
In his latest report on UNOCI, Mr. Ban also noted that achieving the goals set out in the Ouagadougou accord, as well as the Supplementary Agreements signed in November 2007, will require a redoubling of efforts by the parties and their international partners, including the provision of the required resources for a number of key processes, such as the identification of the population, voter registration, disarmament and the re-establishment of State authority.
The resolution adopted by the Council today also requests Mr. Ban to keep the 15-membr body regularly informed on the preparation of the electoral process, including the registration of voters, and providing a report no later than 15 April.
It also welcomed the established by UNOCI of a certification support cell to assist the Special Representative, Choi Young-jin, in fulfilling this task.
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