Annan briefs Security Council on Côte d'Ivoire peace accord

Annan briefs Security Council on Côte d'Ivoire peace accord

Kofi Annan speaks to reporters
Just back from Paris where factions in Côte d'Ivoire signed an accord aimed at ending the months-long civil strife in the country, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today briefed the Security Council on the progress achieved and the current situation on the ground.

"All the Ivoirian parties, those who were in Paris and signed the agreement, have to explain it to their people and work hard to implement it," the Secretary-General told reporters outside the Council's chambers after his closed-door briefing. "I think the agreement offers them a chance to restore peace and stability in that country."

"In the meantime, I appeal to all the people of Ivory Coast to stop the violence, to return to their normal life and the way to resolve this issue is not to turn on each other violently," he added.

Ten Ivoirian political groupings, including the ruling party and the rebel movements, came together to forge the agreement late last week, which calls for a government of national unity headed by a Prime Minister designated by President Laurent Gbagbo in consultation with other political leaders.

"While the agreement is carefully drafted and comprehensive, its value depends entirely on the extent to which it is faithfully implemented," the Secretary-General stressed in his remarks to the Council, the text of which was made public after his briefing. "Ivoirian political leaders, therefore, need to work in a renewed spirit of good faith to secure the peace that the people of the country expect and deserve."

Among the main tasks assigned to the new government under the accord is the preparation of a timetable for credible and transparent elections as well as the rebuilding and restructuring of defence and security forces to reflect the national character and democratic values. Another job for the authorities will be to regroup and subsequently disarm all forces operating on the territory of Côte d'Ivoire and to expel all mercenaries.

Mr. Annan told the Council that Ivoirian authorities informed him that President Gbagbo is encountering difficulties in implementing the agreement and that the Ivoirian leader intends to consult widely - both internally and in the sub region - with a view to overcoming those difficulties. "Meanwhile," the Secretary-General said, "there are disturbing reports of violent demonstrations, initially in Abidjan, but spreading to other localities." Those developments made it more urgent than ever that all concerned "move without delay" to implement the agreement.

The Secretary-General also said he will shortly inform the Council shortly of his intention to appoint a Special Representative for Côte d'Ivoire, who would, within the overall framework of the peace agreement, seek to contribute to the restoration of government authority throughout the territory as well as to the revitalization of the economy, electoral and judicial reforms, and the promotion of national reconciliation.

Mr. Annan urged all Ivoirians to put aside whatever reservations they may feel about the agreement. "Let them focus, rather, on the overall objective which we all share, namely to restore Côte d'Ivoire to its traditional status as a beacon of peace for the whole of West Africa," he said.