SECURITY COUNCIL REITERATES NEED TO IMPLEMENT PEACE AND CEASEFIRE AGREEMENTS IN CÔTE D’IVOIRE, WITH VIEW TO ELECTIONS IN 2005

25 July 2003
SC/7825

SECURITY COUNCIL REITERATES NEED TO IMPLEMENT PEACE AND CEASEFIRE AGREEMENTS IN CÔTE D’IVOIRE, WITH VIEW TO ELECTIONS IN 2005

25/07/2003
Press ReleaseSC/7825

Security Council

4793rd Meeting (AM)

SECURITY COUNCIL REITERATES NEED TO IMPLEMENT PEACE AND CEASEFIRE AGREEMENTS

IN Côte d’Ivoire, WITH VIEW TO ELECTIONS IN 2005

The Security Council this morning reiterated the need for Ivorian political forces to implement, fully and without delay, all of the provisions of the Linas-Marcoussis Agreement, as well as those of the agreement signed in Accra, Ghana on 8 May (“Accra II”), with a view to open, free and transparent elections in 2005.

In a statement read out by its President, Inocencio F. Arias (Spain), to be issued as S/PRST/2003/11, the Council also took note with satisfaction of the formation of a government of national reconciliation and the progress made thus far.

Addressing the Council at the outset of the meeting, Prime Minister Seydou Elimane Diarra highlighted the progress made so far, including the formation of the Government of National Reconciliation on 13 March, which comprised the signatories of the Linas-Marcoussis Agreement.  Particularly welcome had been the signing of the ceasefire agreement between the national armed forces and the Forces Nouvelles, on 2 May. 

Implementation of the ceasefire agreement had been extended to the borders with Liberia on 24 May, the Prime Minister noted.  Other achievements had included the selection of cantonment areas, the normalization of relations with neighbouring countries, and the opening of safe transportation quarters between Côte d’Ivoire and neighbouring countries.  Also, the Council of Ministers had adopted an amnesty bill, which would be considered on 4 August by the National Assembly. 

Alain Richard Donwahi, Special Representative of the Prime Minister for disarmament, demobilization and reintegration, described the Government’s efforts in that area, which was “key to restructuring Côte d’Ivoire”.  The disarmament process would start on 20 August and end with the destruction of arms a month later.  New legislation on arms possession was expected in September, to be followed by the disarmament of the civilian population.  Reintegration, the most important part of the programme, would include vocational training and special projects for vulnerable groups, such as child soldiers, as well as follow-up to the HIV/AIDS pandemic. 

Noting that the peace process in Côte d’Ivoire remained fragile and much remained to be done for the full implementation of the Linas-Marcoussis Agreement, speakers called for a redoubling of efforts in several areas, among them:  the adoption of the amnesty bill; the complete implementation of the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programme; the extension of governmental authority throughout the territory of the country; and the appointment of the ministers for defence and interior security.

Unquestionably, stated the representative of France, whose country leads the multinational force in Côte d’Ivoire, new advances on the way to reconciliation had taken place since the deployment of that force.  At the same time, more was required for reconciliation to be a complete success, particularly the cantonment and disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of the Forces Nouvelles.  He welcomed the efforts of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), which, through its political and operational capacity, was helping Côte d’Ivoire to return to peace. 

Angola’s representative pointed out that a timely response of the international community was crucial to success in tackling crises of the dimension seen in Côte d’Ivoire.  Such international efforts would be incomplete, however, if they were not followed by further action in support of the post-conflict period.  In that regard, he, like many other speakers, urged the international community, particularly donor countries, to respond to the appeal made at the donors’ conference in Paris on 18 July, bearing in mind that the positive development of the West African region was directly dependent on Côte d’Ivoire’s recovery. 

Indeed, Pakistan’s representative said, Côte d’Ivoire had been fortunate that, in its hour of crisis, it had been the beneficiary of timely assistance at various levels -– regional, subregional and international.  Apart from the political process, economic and social reconstruction would require sustained international commitment.

Similarly, China’s representative said that peace and reconciliation in Côte d’Ivoire could not be separated from assistance from the international community.  He, too, called on the international community to continue to provide generous support for the peace process in Côte d’Ivoire, which was at a crucial stage. 

Statements were also made by the representatives of the United Kingdom, Germany, Syria, Mexico, Guinea, Chile, Russian Federation, Cameroon, and the United States.  The representative of Spain, presiding over the meeting, also spoke in his national capacity.

The meeting, which began at 10:15 a.m., adjourned at 12:32 p.m.

Presidential Statement

The full text of the presidential statement reads as follows:

“The Security Council reiterates the need for Ivorian political forces to implement fully and without delay all the provisions of the Linas-Marcoussis Agreement, as well as those of the agreement signed in Accra on 8 May 2003 (“Accra II”), with a view to open, free and transparent elections being held in 2005.  The Council takes note with satisfaction of the formation of a government of national reconciliation and the progress made, particularly the identification of cantonment areas and the delegation of powers to the Prime Minister, and is looking forward to new progress in accordance with the Linas-Marcoussis Agreement.  The Council also welcomes the “joint declaration by Côte d’Ivoire defence and security forces and the armed forces of the Forces Nouvelles” of 4 July 2003 (document S/2003/704).

“The Security Council emphasizes, however, that much remains to be done to achieve the full implementation of the Linas-Marcoussis Agreement.  In this regard, the Council endorses the recommendations of its mission to West Africa (document S/2003/668).  The Council calls on Ivorian political forces to redouble their efforts in the following areas:  voting for the amnesty bill submitted to the National Assembly by the Government, the complete implementation of a “disarmament, demobilization and reintegration” programme, the extension of public services and the authority of the State to areas still under control of the Forces Nouvelles, the appointment of ministers for defence and interior security, the guarantee of equal security for all ministers, the dismantling of militias throughout the country and the termination of the activities of mercenaries and of the purchase of weapons.

“The Security Council renews its support and encouragement to the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Côte d’Ivoire.  It asks him to keep the Council closely informed of developments towards the full implementation of the above objectives.  It is pleased that the United Nations Mission in Côte d’Ivoire (MINUCI) is now operational and hopes it will soon be fully staffed, including in such crucial areas as the political and human rights components.

“The Security Council reiterates its full support for the efforts of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and France in contributing to a peaceful solution of the crisis.  It welcomes in particular the satisfactory deployment of their peacekeeping forces in the western part of the country to support the implementation of the ceasefire reached on 3 May.  The Council calls on Member States to continue to respond to the appeal made at the donors’ conference in Paris on 18 July, attended by the Executive Secretary of ECOWAS and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, and to provide logistic and financial support to the ECOWAS Mission in Côte d’Ivoire (ECOMICI) so that it can continue to fulfil its important mandate.

“The Security Council invites donor countries to contribute to the reconstruction of Côte d’Ivoire in compliance with the commitments undertaken at Kleber.

“The Security Council expresses its concern at the continued existence of regional factors of instability, particularly the use of mercenaries and child soldiers, and the spread of small arms and light weapons which prevent a lasting solution to the crisis in the region.  The Council requests the Secretary-General to submit recommendations to the Council as soon as possible on ways to combat such subregional and cross-border problems, focusing in particular on better coordination of United Nations efforts.

“The Security Council is convinced that a lasting solution to the problems of the subregion also requires genuine cooperation among all States concerned, together with confidence-building measures and the personal commitment of heads of State in the subregion.”

Background

The Security Council met this morning to consider the situation in Côte d’Ivoire.  On 13 May, the council unanimously adopted resolution 1479 (2003), by which it established the United Nations Mission in Côte d’Ivoire (MINUCI), for an initial period of six months.

The Mission was created to facilitate implementation by the Ivorian parties of the Linas-Marcoussis Agreement, signed by the political forces on 24 January.  It would deploy a military liaison group, complementing the operations of the French and the forces of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

In resolution 1479 (2003), the Council also stressed the importance of the regional dimension of the conflict and its consequences for neighbouring States and invited the donor community to help the neighbouring States to face the humanitarian and economic consequences of the crisis.

[For the full text of resolution 1479 (2003) and more background information, see Press Release SC/7758 of 13 May.]

Statements

INOCENCIO F. ARIAS (Spain), President of the Council, conveyed to Ambassador Greenstock the Council’s appreciation of him as a colleague and as a friend.  He would be remembered for his clarity and eloquence in his presentations, as well as his readiness to search for compromise.  His unfailing eagerness to assist the Council members to achieve consensus language had often enabled the Council to reach agreement on difficult issues.  Aside from his ability to articulate and persuade, he had provided effective leadership to two missions of the Council to West Africa.  The Council wished him success in his new endeavours as the United Kingdom’s Special Representative in Iraq.

JEREMY GREENSTOCK (United Kingdom) thanked the Council for its expression of friendship.  He said he had tried to work with the Council to demonstrate that, in its search for peace and security, the United Kingdom was there to help achieve those results.  It was important to remember that, although the Council only consisted of 15 of the Organization’s 191 members, it represented the whole of the United Nations.  The Council could work with greater transparency for the benefit of the entire membership, he said.

SEYDOU ELIMANE DIARRA, Prime Minister of the National Reconciliation Government of Côte d’Ivoire, reiterated his gratitude to the Secretary-General for his tireless support to the process of restoring peace in Côte d’Ivoire.  He also commended the commitments of the Secretary-General’s Special Representative, France and ECOWAS, who were working to bring a successful conclusion to the crisis in his country.  The latest visit of the Council to Côte d’Ivoire had been an opportunity to think again about how to resolve the crisis.  Today, he would focus on what had been achieved since the signing of the Linas-Marcoussis Agreement and the formation of the National Reconciliation Government.  Following that, his special representative for disarmament, demobilization and reintegration would provide a briefing on that issue.   

On progress made, he said that on 13 March, the Government of National Reconciliation was instituted, comprised of the signatories of the Linas-Marcoussis Agreement.  On 2 May, the ceasefire agreement was signed between the national armed forces and the Forces Nouvelles.  Implementation of the ceasefire agreement had been extended to the borders with Liberia on 24 May.  Other achievements had included the selection of cantonment areas, the normalization of relations with neighbouring countries, and the opening of safe transportation quarters between Côte d’Ivoire and neighbouring countries.  Also, the Council of Ministers had adopted an amnesty bill, which would be considered on 4 August by the National Assembly.  

He said he had also undertaken contacts with the country’s President and political forces on the appointment of the ministers of defence and security.  Once he returned from New York, he would take up the initiative to address that issue, in order to have a full government.  The Government was working normally and the functions of the ministers of defence and security were being carried out, he added. 

In the economic and social areas, he said he had traveled to Belgium recently, where he had met with Belgian authorities and representatives of the European Commission.  He would devote August to traveling to various areas of Côte d’Ivoire to reassure the population of the developments in the return to peace. 

As to the next steps, he mentioned the extension of phase 3 of security throughout the country, and financing for the ECOWAS mission, the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programme, the redeployment of administration through the territory, and the provision of education and health services.  The holding of fair, transparent and open elections would require assistance, as would humanitarian activities and the creation of employment.  At the subregional level, the resolution of the Liberian conflict was crucial.  A robust campaign against poverty reduction was also vital to providing stability, not only in Côte d’Ivoire, but in the entire subregion.

Next, ALAIN RICHARD DONWAHI, Special Representative for disarmament, demobilization and reintegration, showed a power point presentation on the Reconciliation Government’s disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programme, which had been supported by the World Bank, the European Union and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).  It had also been developed in consensus with the different forces in the country.

He said that the programme emphasized measures regarding amnesty, regrouping, disarmament, demobilization, reintegration and restructuring, complete with a detailed timetable for all such activities.  The goal was to achieve peace and stability through the establishment of a national reconciliation government and a restructuring of the army.  The programme was the key to restructuring Cote d'Ivoire, he stressed.

A comprehensive ceasefire had been signed on 3 May, while the end of the war had been announced on 4 July, he continued, addind that a “zone of confidence” had been designated on 1 June.  An amnesty law would be presented to the National Assembly on 6 August, while the restructuring of the Forces Armées Nationales de Côte d’Ivoire (FANCI), the national army, would start on 13 August.  Regrouping would start on 8 June, with identification of cantonment sites.  On 20 August, FANCI forces would return to their quarters and ex-combatants would regroup, and then, be identified.

He noted that the disarmament process would also start on 20 August and end with the destruction of arms on 20 September.  New legislation on arms possession was expected on 21 September.  That would be followed by the disarmament of the civilian population, beginning with an education campaign, and followed by voluntary handing in of weapons, after which arms would be collected through law enforcement.

Demobilization and cantonment would start on 19 August and end on 17 October, after which the process of identification of candidates for demobilization would begin, he explained further.  Cantonment, the period before reintegration, would enable the Government to issue identity cards and to reorient ex-combatants to civilian life.  Reintegration, the most important part of the programme, would include vocational training and special projects for vulnerable groups, such as child soldiers, as well as sensitizing and follow-up to the HIV/AIDS pandemic.  That phase would take 12 to 24 months.

He recalled that the Prime Minister had said that an end to the crisis was in sight.  The guns were silent.  He looked forward to working with all countries in the region.  Social reintegration was a crucial programme.  “If we don’t get the children back to work, they will be used by other forces”, he said.  By 2005, the utmost would have been done to reintegrate the children.  The ultimate goal was to have elections by that year.

JEAN-MARC DE LA SABLIÈRE (France) thanked the Prime Minister for his briefing.  Council members were well aware of the extent of the efforts being carried out in Côte d’Ivoire.  Unquestionably, new advances on the way to reconciliation had taken place since last May and the adoption of resolution 1479 (2003).  It was important to recall the key elements of that progress, including the signing of the ceasefire agreement on 3 May between the national armed forces and the Forces Nouvelles.  Also significant had been the identification of the cantonment sites of belligerents, the declaration of the end of hostilities on 4 July and the normalization of relations between Côte d’Ivoire and neighbouring countries. 

At the same time, he said, the process remained fragile and much remained to be done for reconciliation to be a complete success, particularly the cantonment and disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of the Forces Nouvelles.  He welcomed the involvement of President John Kufuor (Ghana) and the efforts of ECOWAS, which showed the Community’s political and operational capacity to help Côte d’Ivoire return to peace.  While remaining vigilant about implementation of the Linas-Marcoussis Agreement, the international community would continue to support the ECOWAS mission in Côte d’Ivoire.  The donors’ conference on 18 July in Paris had given some encouraging signs.  On the ground, the ECOWAS and French troops were continuing action in support of the peace process.  France, early next week, would publish a report on the Licorne mission.  It would also submit a brief technical draft resolution on the extension of the force there.  His delegation had prepared a presidential statement on Côte d’Ivoire, which he hoped would be adopted at the end of today’s meeting. 

JEREMY GREENSTOCK (United Kingdom) congratulated the Prime Minister on the progress made, including the presentation of the programme of work to implement the Linas-Marcoussis Agreement, and noted that the security situation in Côte d’Ivoire had improved.

He said that on some issues, however, progress had been mixed.  He would welcome an early date for adoption by the National Assembly of the amnesty law, appointment of ministers of defence and internal security, and the extension of basic services throughout the country.  The disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programme was, in some way, a model, but that needed to be implemented according to the given timeline.  The Council would be following up implementation assiduously.

Continuing international support was important, he urged. The long-term target of the country was holding successful elections by 2005.  Since meeting that deadline needed careful preparations, he asked for confirmation about whether the Government would ask for United Nations and international assistance towards that goal.

ZHANG YISHAN (China) said he was convinced that Ambassador Greenstock would contribute to peace and reconstruction in Iraq, and wished him much success.

He said that the peace process in Côte d’Ivoire was now in a crucial stage.  It was timely and necessary, therefore, to discuss the issue.  He thanked the Prime Minister for his briefing on the latest situation in that country, and he appreciated all efforts of the Government to implement the Linas-Marcoussis Agreement and realize national reconciliation.  In particular, he welcomed the

4 July joint declaration between the national armed forces and the Forces Nouvelles, which was crucial to peace in Côte d’Ivoire.  He noted that the Government had presented the amnesty bill to the national assembly.  He also supported the full implementation of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programmes.

Peace and reconciliation in Côte d’Ivoire could not be separated from assistance from the international community, he said.  He supported the work done by the United Nations Mission in Côte d’Ivoire, under the leadership of the Secretary-General’s Special Representative.  He called on the international community, especially donor countries, to continue to provide generous support to Côte d’Ivoire.  He also called on donors to provide ECOWAS with further support.  He supported the strengthening of cooperation between the United Nations and ECOWAS to further promote peace in that country. 

The countries of West Africa were closely interwoven with each other, he noted.  A regional approach, therefore, should be adopted to settle conflicts there.  The proliferation of small arms, the use of mercenaries and the exploitation of natural resources were factors leading to conflict, but poverty was the root cause of those factors.  Poverty eradication, therefore, was the way to bring peace to West Africa. 

GUNTER PLEUGER (Germany) recognized the important conciliatory role the Prime Minister had played.  He was optimistic about the peace process, even though questions about the programme of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration and about citizenship had to be resolved.  Together with the European partners, Germany would continue to support the peace process.  The message the Council mission had conveyed was clear:  the Linas-Marcoussis Agreement had to be implemented, and the Council would follow the process carefully.

He asked, among other things, when the nomination of the ministers of Defence and the Interior would take place.  He also asked whether the amnesty law, to be discussed by parliament on 6 August, would be adopted quickly, and for which acts and what period amnesty would be granted.

FAYSSAL MEKDAD (Syria) paid tribute to Ambassador Greenstock for his role in strengthening the Council.  Then, he welcomed the Prime Minister and his efforts to achieve peace in Côte d’Ivoire.  The Council mission had returned recently from that country and its main objective had been to promote the peace process there and to ensure the implementation of the Linas-Marcoussis Agreement.  He supported all steps taken by the Prime Minister in implementing that agreement.  Côte d’Ivoire had witnessed much pain and suffering.  The time had come for its people to enjoy peace, security and national reconciliation. 

He welcomed the joint declaration between the national forces and the Forces Nouvelles of 4 July, declaring the end of hostilities.  He called on all parties to fully and expeditiously implement all provisions of the Linas-Marcoussis Agreement.  He appreciated efforts made by ECOWAS and France towards peace, and he called on donors to provide assistance to help ECOWAS forces to protect peace and security in the region.  In support of all efforts to help Côte d’Ivoire to overcome its present circumstances, he favoured the presidential statement to be adopted today.

ADOLFO AGUILAR ZINSER (Mexico) said that peace in Côte d’Ivoire was closely linked to political development, security and social and economic development in the whole region, as peace in Côte d’Ivoire meant peace and prosperity for West Africa.  He, therefore, welcomed progress made in the political transition, as well as the statement of 4 July, through which the end of the war had been declared.  He asked what prospects existed for full reunification and establishment of the reconciliation authority throughout the country.

He stressed that the international community must provide assistance to the electoral process, including for the creation of an autonomous authority, which would guarantee transparency.  He asked what action was being taken in that regard.  Moving ahead with disarmament, demobilization and reintegration was also crucial, and special attention should be given to disarming youth groups.  The recurrent problems of the availability of small arms and light weapons, child soldiers and mercenaries throughout the region were unacceptable.  Mercenaries and arms trafficking were critical regional problems, which had been aggravated by the situation in Liberia.  He asked about the impact of the Liberian conflict on Côte d’Ivoire.

Expressing concern about the fragile humanitarian situation in Côte d’Ivoire, he said that had been aggravated by the arrival of refugees from Liberia.  He underscored the importance of giving humanitarian workers protection and unrestricted access.  In conclusion, he stressed the importance of effective follow-up by the Council in the coming months.

ISMAEL ABRAÃO GASPAR MARTINS (Angola) joined others who had expressed appreciation to Ambassador Greenstock, and he wished him all success in his new endeavours.  He commended the Prime Minister for the reconciliatory leadership role he had been playing in the process of national reconstruction.  The achievements reached since the formation of the Government of National Reconciliation were proof of the political will of the Ivorian parties and the determination of the international community to address the crisis.  That same political will should prevail to address all pending issues, including the appointment of the defence and interior ministers, the extension of good governance and State authority throughout the territory, the adoption of the amnesty law and the implementation of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programmes. 

He said that the progress made in the area of political dialogue would only be sustained if military aspects were also properly addressed.  He welcomed the joint declaration between the national armed forces and the Forces Nouvelles, which took place 48 hours after the Council mission departed from Côte d’Ivoire.  The parties should be encouraged to take a constructive approach, which they had already begun to demonstrate. 

There was a meaningful lesson to be learned from the crisis in Côte d’Ivoire regarding the responsibility of the international community, he said.  The continued efforts of ECOWAS, France, the African Union, the United Nations and the international community, as a whole, had been producing the desired result, due to the fact that the political will of the parties was increasingly more evident.  A timely response of the international community was crucial to succeed in tackling crises of the dimension seen in Côte d’Ivoire.  Those international efforts would be incomplete if they were not followed by further action in support of the post-conflict period.  The international community should respond to the appeal made at the donors conference in Paris on 18 July, bearing in mind that the positive development of the West African region was directly dependent on the recovery of Côte d’Ivoire. 

He said that the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programme presented today could contribute positively to peace and stability in Côte d’Ivoire.  He urged the Council to give it positive consideration.  The prevailing situation in Liberia was of concern, as that could negatively affect the peace emerging in Côte d’Ivoire.  The Council needed to find an urgent solution to that crisis.  He supported the presidential statement before it today.

BOUBACAR DIALLO (Guinea) said achievements made in the peace process needed to be fully supported.  Guinea, as a neighbouring country, was pleased to note the gradual return to normalcy in Côte d’Ivoire.  Despite complexities and sensitivities, efforts by France and ECOWAS should be continued.  The tasks to be accomplished were immense, and sacrifices still had to be made.

He said that, in order to achieve peace and economic recovery, each party had to play its role, despite differences on key issues.  The Joint Declaration on the end of war on 4 July, and the adoption of a draft bill on amnesty by the Council of Ministers, were particularly welcome.  Meeting the challenges faced by the Ivorian people was a challenge to all.  The road to peace and national reconciliation had been charted, and it was now up to the parties to follow it.

MASOOD KHALID (Pakistan) paid tribute to Ambassador Greenstock, and noted that his many qualities would serve him well in his new role.  Côte d’Ivoire, he said, had a clear road map to peace, in the form of the Linas-Marcoussis Agreement.  The people of Côte d’Ivoire had wisely opted for that path.  Success now would depend on faithful adherence to the implementation of that Agreement.  He encouraged all parties to fully implement it, and he hoped that the people of Côte d’Ivoire would achieve the desired objectives of peace and stability, in a spirit of national reconciliation.  He lauded the Government’s efforts in that regard. 

He said that while the Government had withstood the turmoil that had struck the country last September, the crisis was not yet over.  A lot of damage had been done in various areas.  Côte d’Ivoire had been fortunate that, in its hour of crisis, it had been the beneficiary of timely assistance at various levels -– regional, subregional and international.  He appreciated the role played by France and ECOWAS.  The United Nations had also been involved in the peace process there.  Apart from the political process, economic and social reconstruction would require sustained international commitment.  One central conclusion that had emerged from the consideration of conflicts in Africa had been the need for parallel progress on several interrelated tracks, including security, humanitarian relief, the provision of justice and economic revival.  Addressing those issues should be the responsibility, not only of the Council, but of all organs of the United Nations.

HERALDO MUNOZ (Chile) said that, despite progress, there remained obstacles and dangers to peace in Côte d’Ivoire, among which was regional stability, including the situation in Liberia.  He reiterated his country’s full support for full compliance with the Linas-Marcoussis Agreement and others, and to the holding of free and open elections by 2005.  The disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programme must be pursued without delay, in order to prevent a deterioration of the situation.

He highlighted another subject of importance to his country as the need to deal with impunity and crimes against human rights.  No national reconciliation process should ignore that matter.  He hoped that, with a dose of realism, but also with resolve, those guilty of human rights violations would be brought to justice.  He was also concerned about recruitment of child soldiers.

VADIM S. SMIRNOV (Russian Federation) expressed gratitude to the Prime Minister for his briefing on the developments in his country and for his efforts there.  He was pleased with the progress made so far in Côte d’Ivoire, as part of the implementation of the Linas-Marcoussis Agreement.  He noted the 4 July signing of the joint declaration on the end to hostilities, between the national armed forces and the Forces Nouvelles.  Much remained to be done for the full implementation of the Linas-Marcoussis Agreement, however, including disarmament, demobilization and reintegration, the extension of government authority to the whole territory, the appointment of defence and interior ministers, the adoption of the amnesty law, as well as economic reconstruction.

He called on all parties to fully implement all provisions of the Linas-Marcoussis Agreement.  It was also important for all players to ensure the protection of human rights.  He noted the considerable role played by mediators in resolving the crisis.  He also expressed support for the United Nations Mission in that country, with which he expected full cooperation by all actors in the country.  In addition, he paid tribute to ECOWAS and to the French peacekeeping efforts, and joined calls for donors to continue supporting them.  He also supported the presidential statement to be adopted.

MARTIN BELINGA-EBOUTOU (Cameroon) said tremendous progress in implementation of the Linas-Marcoussis Agreement had been made.  Today, military people from both camps had declared the end of the war, recognized the Head of State and agreed to support the Linas-Marcoussis and “Accra II” arrangements.  Shortly, parliament would consider the amnesty law, which would provide for a general pardon.  He was confident that the programme for national reconciliation would be continued and that the elections in 2005 would be transparent.

He said that restoring authority of the State throughout the territory had become a priority.  Towards that end, a European Commission programme would assist in financing the administration and supporting the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programme.  The country was at a crucial crossroad and needed the support of the international community and the United Nations.  The Council must send a strong message to the leaders and people of Côte d’Ivoire, and to the region of West Africa, reiterating its approval of the Linas-Marcoussis Agreement and underscoring the urgent need to fully implement it.

Continuation of the programme of national reconciliation required stability in the Government, he said.  In that regard, he hoped that the Head of State would continue to ensure that the actions of the Prime Minister were in line with the spirit of the Linas-Marcoussis Agreement.

JOSIAH B. ROSENBLATT (United States) commended the efforts of the Prime Minister in moving the peace process forward.  Also, he supported the implementation of the Linas-Marcoussis Agreement and urged the Prime Minister to look for ways to accelerate its implementation, including the prompt appointment of the defence and interior ministers.  He applauded the efforts of the armed forces of Côte d’Ivoire, working with ECOWAS and the French military unit, in carrying out “operation Licorne” to secure the border between Liberia and Côte d’Ivoire.  In addition, he thanked the Prime Minister for his Government’s cooperation with the United Nations military liaison presence in Côte d’Ivoire and for welcoming the Council mission to Abidjan.  Lastly, he expressed support for the presidential statement presented by France.

Council President INOCENCIO F. ARIAS (Spain), speaking in his national capacity, welcomed the progress made in the peace process and encouraged the authorities to work resolutely to face the challenges in consolidating peace.  During the recent mission to West Africa, the Council had reiterated the importance of implementing the Linas-Marcoussis Agreement, as the only way to establish peace.  He called on all political forces to implement that Agreement, as well as the Accra II agreement.  A major challenge now was extending State authority to the entire territory.  He wanted to know what progress had been made towards that end, and how the Government had intended to extend authority to the north of the country, as well as its intentions regarding the appointment of the defence and interior ministers.

He also drew attention to the prompt application of the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programme and the parliamentary processing of the amnesty bill, which was key for the return to democracy and for the holding of elections in 2005.

Answering questions raised, the Prime Minister of the National Reconciliation Government of Côte d’Ivoire, Mr. DIARRA, said he had been a “consensus” Prime Minister, appointed after consultations with all parties, and he was trying to unite all Ivorians in peace and in efforts order to combat poverty.  He worked with respect for the rule of law, as well as respect for human rights.  He had been concerned about presenting a government programme of all political forces of Côte d’Ivoire, as foreseen by the Linas-Marcoussis Agreement.  The first law would be presented on 6 August –- the amnesty law -- and he expected it to be adopted.  The adoption of that bill would be the beginning of a new stage in Côte d’Ivoire.

Regarding the appointment of Ministers of Defence and Security, he said that a National Security Council had been established, consisting of 15 members, including himself.  As he had not wanted to be involved in appointing the Ministers, he had made temporary appointments.  However, the President had asked him to make filling the two posts a priority.  Upon return to the country, he would submit proposals, therefore, to the President and the National Security Council, in that regard.

Concerning unity of the country and the extension of authority into north, south and west, he said much progress had been made.  The Defence Forces and the Forces Nouvelles had agreed that the war was over.  Government missions had been sent to the north and to the west. The West was now completely pacified.  The Government was now seeking to have the population return to their areas.  Once regrouping had begun under the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programme, Côte d’Ivoire would have been pacified and officials could return to their duties in those areas.  The infrastructure of the administration in some places had been destroyed, however, and would have to be rebuilt completely.  By the end of September, the prefectures and teachers and doctors would be in place, so that children throughout the country could return to school in October.  The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization and certain non-governmental organizations would help those who had fallen behind to catch up.

Answering another question, he said that Côte d’Ivoire shared a long border with Liberia, and that that area had been turbulent for years.  But, it had been kept under control and the war had not spilled over.  Today, thanks to ECOWAS and French forces, the western border was again under control.  While refugees from Liberia had been accepted, anyone with weapons had been stopped.  The situation in Liberia could not be solved under a subregional perspective without the support of the international community.  The ECOWAS had taken initiatives, but those needed the financial and political support of the Council.  He appealed to the international community to quickly bring the Liberian war to an end, as that was disturbing the whole subregion.

The Government had as its goal elections by 2005, under normal conditions, he explained.  A National Electoral Commission had been formed, which encompassed all political parties, and its independent role would be strengthened.  He stressed that, since Côte d’Ivoire was a real “melting pot”, whoever would be the winner, would have to involve the minority as well.  Democracy could not prosper unless those who lost the election were included, he added.

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For information media. Not an official record.