United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Madam Ban Soon-taek arrived in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire from Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, in the afternoon of Wednesday, 23 April.
Upon arrival, he told reporters that the United Nations would continue to support Côte d’Ivoire’s peace process, including elections later in the year.
His first meeting was with President Laurent Gbagbo. Speaking to the press later, he said that he was encouraged that the Côte d’Ivoire Government had cleared all arrears with the World Bank and regained the trust and confidence of international financial institutions. He then attended a luncheon hosted by the President.
After a meeting that afternoon with Prime Minister Guillaume Soro, the Secretary-General said that he had encouraged the Prime Minister to continue with his efforts to maintain the peace process in collaboration with the President and the other political actors.
In addition, the Secretary-General attended the signing of a protocol of understanding between Côte d’Ivoire and the donor community, in which donors pledged €27 million towards the next phase of the peace process. (See Press Release SG/SM/11528)
On Wednesday afternoon, Madam Ban visited the Orphanage Marie-Thérese Houphouet-Boigny, before going to a town hall meeting where the Secretary-General addressed staff of the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI), and later attended a reception hosted by the Special Representative in Côte d’Ivoire, Choi Young-jin.
On Thursday morning, the Secretary-General continued his meetings with all the main political actors in Côte d’Ivoire. He held meetings with the Ivorian Foreign Minister, Youssou Bakayoko, political party leaders, civil society representatives and the President of the Independent Electoral Commission, Robert M. Beugré, and Special Representative of the Facilitator, B. Badini.
At the Hotel Ivoire, the Secretary-General presided over the signing of a Code of Good Conduct by the country’s political parties for the November elections. After witnessing the signing of the Code of Conduct, Mr. Ban was decorated by President Laurent Gbagbo, from whom he received the Grand Officier de l’Ordre National award in the presence of the Prime Minister, members of the diplomatic corps, United Nations officials, politicians and other dignitaries. (See Press Release SG/SM/11529)
He later went on to look at the work being done by the United Nations peacekeeping mission at the Jordanian Military Camp, where he had lunch with the Impartial Forces. In the afternoon, he visited a United Nations project on urban security in the suburb of Plateau.
Before leaving Côte d’Ivoire, the Secretary-General spoke to the press and expressed the United Nations appreciation for what has been achieved so far in the implementation of the Ouagadougou Agreement, which he said had reached “a point of no return”. At the same time, he said that considerable challenges remain to be addressed. “The road to the elections, to sustainable peace and reconciliation may be treacherous and we should be vigilant,” he warned.
On Thursday evening, the Secretary-General and his delegation departed to Europe.