Press Conference by the Secretary-General
Yamoussoukro, Cote d'Ivoire, 5 July 2006
Thank you for coming to this brief press conference this evening. We have had a very constructive meeting this afternoon. Participating in that meeting was, of course, President Gbagbo and Prime Minister Banny, but we also had President Obasanjo, President Mbeki and the foreign ministers of Congo Republic, of Ghana, of Burkina Faso. We also had the representative of the African Union here with us.
We decided to press ahead with the implementation of the Yamoussoukro Agreement of the 28th of February and all UN resolutions, particularly 1633. We also agreed that certain measures would need to be taken by certain specific dates and we will give you documents confirming the dates. We agreed that at least 50 mobile courts should be established and deployed around the country for the audiences foraines by the 15th of July.
We also agreed that a Presidential Decree will be issued by the 15th of July to allow the independent electoral commission to make any technical adjustments to the electoral code for the transition period, for the transitional elections.
There was also reaffirmation of the validity of the Pretoria Agreement, including its paragraph 6.
We also agreed that the deployment of the electoral commission throughout the country must be done by the 31st of July. With regard to funding, we all agreed that there is a gap to be filled, but we believe once genuine progress is seen in the process, the donor community will be forthcoming and make resources available.
That is for the elections.
On the issue of disarmament, we agreed to set up a follow-up mechanism including the Force Commanders of the national army, the Forces Nouvelles, the Force Commanders of the impartial forces, and a representative of the Prime Minister's office, who will monitor the disarmament process. But I must say that the participants also reaffirmed the importance of making every effort to respect a comprehensive timeline, time frame, and relevant resolutions, so all the deadlines and time frames that have been accepted through previous negotiations have to be implemented.
We did also agree on immediate resumption of the quadripartite control of the pre-cantonment process in order to complete that process by the 31st of July on the basis of the 9 July 2005 agreement, reconfirmed by the International Working Group.
And finally, we insisted that the militia must be disbanded by the 31st of July, and here the President will make the relevant forces available to the Prime Minister so that he can carry out his responsibility for the dismantlement of the militia.
We have also agreed to meet in September in the margins of the UN General Assembly to take stock and assess what further decisions we will need to take.
As to you, ladies and gentlemen of the media, we are asking you to respect the Pretoria and Yamoussoukro agreements, which call for responsible and balanced reporting and avoid any language that can incite, can create difficulties. You know as well as any others that words can soothe; they can calm; they can incite and cause many difficulties. And I also wanted to add that we had with us in a meeting Mr. Guillaume Soro, Mr. Allassane Ouattara and Mr. Djedje Mady, representing President Bedié.
We have an interpreter here who will share with you what I have said, and the documents I have referred to are also available, and will be available very shortly.
Questions and Answers
1. In response to two questions from Fraternité Matin with regard to (a) what action the UN will take to enable the elections to be held on schedule and (b) what action it would take if that deadline is not met:
SG: That is one of the reasons we are all here, to work with the parties to press ahead with the implementation of the roadmap and a serious attempt to respect the calendar, and the calendar is extremely important. I think every participant indicated that they are going to do their maximum to ensure that the calendar is respected, and I hope that everyone will do their part. Of course, if that happens, the question that you have raised will not be necessary, but if it doesn't happen, then we will jump that bridge when we get there.
2. In response to a question from the BBC as to whether elections are possible in October and the status of President Gbagbo after 31 October.
I wish we had had time to distribute the document to you before this press conference, but you will get the documents. We had in the meeting Ambassador Stoudmann, who is the High Representative for Elections, and he explained all the steps we have to go through for the elections, and all the technical things which need to be done and exhorted all the parties to move ahead aggressively and in a cooperative manner to meet the requirements. And, obviously, if at some point we decide that some adjustments to the calendar are required, we will have to meet together to do that. And, of course, as I have indicated to you, we will be taking stock in New York in mid-September and I don't to jump the gun before that assessment and review. And as I have indicated, if all goes well and we are able to meet our calendar, fine. If some adjustments have to be made, we will take that decision and jump that bridge when we get there. And your second question as to what happens to the governance, the status of President Gbagbo, that will all be discussed then. I think we shouldn't jump the gun.
Soir Info: Est-ce que vous avez le sentiment que le GTI ne fait pas correctement son travail, et puis [..] l'ONU, est-ce que vous avez le sentiment d'avoir aidé l'Afrique en termes d'avances en démocratie ?
SG : D'abord, je tiens à préciser que la démocratie n'est pas l'affaire d'un homme, c'est une affaire pour nous tous. C'est pour les citoyens. C'est pour les sociétés civiles, pour les gouvernements, donc, poser la question « qu'est-ce que le Secrétaire Général a fait pour la démocratie en Afrique ? » On doit le faire ensemble. Commençons d'abord avec les citoyens. Et je crois que l'Afrique fait des progrès mais il y a énormément à faire. On ne peut pas dire que tout est en ordre [mais] il y a une société civile qui devient de plus en plus robuste. Il y a des gens qui s'organisent. Il y a la presse qui, parfois, est très active mais libre. Donc il y a une certaine progression et les gens insistent sur les droits de l'homme. Tout ça c'est important.
Je suis venu ici - et souvent je descends dans un pays pour visiter les opérations de maintien de la paix pour voir par moi-même ce qui se passe sur place et discuter avec mes représentants et les gouvernements concernés ? Ce n'est pas dire que les représentants ne font pas leur travail. M. Pierre Schori travaille très très bien. Je suis très fier du travail qu'il a fait ici, qu'il continue à faire. Il a toute ma confiance. Donc, il n'en est pas question. Je suis venu ici pour m'asseoir avec les leaders politiques ivoiriens, avec mon équipe, pour voir ce qu'on peut faire davantage pour pousser le processus de paix et mettre en application le programme qu'on avait élaboré ensemble . Ce sont les raisons de ma présence ici. Merci.
The Congolese Foreign Minister then took the floor to explain that at the recent AU summit in Banjul, the African heads of state, in a unanimous resolution, had expressed appreciation for the work of the Secretary-General at the helm of the United Nations. They said he had been the pride of Africa, through his actions with regard not only to the continent but also the world at large.