Côte d’Ivoire: UN dismantling observation posts in former zone of confidence

8 February 2008 –

The United Nations peacekeeping mission in Côte d’Ivoire, known as UNOCI, is dismantling its observation posts in the former zone of confidence in the West African nation divided between the Government-controlled south and the rebel Forces Nouvelles-held north.

Four posts are currently being taken apart and, security conditions permitting, the next dismantling will take place at the end of March, UNOCI Military Spokesperson Colonel Mustapha Dafir announced yesterday in Abidjan.

Under the Ouagadougou Agreement reached between the two sides last March, the zone is to be replaced with a green line monitored by UNOCI.

That pact also calls for creating a new transitional government; organizing free and fair presidential elections; merging the Forces Nouvelles and the national defence and security forces through the establishment of an integrated command centre; and dismantling the militias and disarming ex-combatants.

Two supplementary agreements were signed last November to help resolve issues related to the implementation of the 2007 accord.

UNOCI has also announced that the Secretary-General’s Special Representative, Y. J. Choi, met this week with Ivorian leaders, including President Laurent Gbagbo and the head of the Democratic Party of Côte d’Ivoire, Henri Konan Bédié. These talks have mainly centred on the financing and certification of elections, as well as the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) process.

Similar topics were discussed in previous talks between Mr. Choi and Prime Minister Guillaume Soro and Alassane Dramane Ouattara, leader of the Rally of Republicans party.

Last month, the Security Council extended by six months the mandate of UNOCI, which has over 9,000 uniformed personnel, including nearly 8,000 troops and more than 1,000 police, as of last November.

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