Noting that the situation in Côte d’Ivoire “continues to constitute a threat to international peace and security in the region,” the Security Council today unanimously extended the United Nations mission in the West African country for three months and envisaged a possible boosting of the UN presence there.
There are currently 34 UN military liaison officers in the UN Mission, known as MINUCI, to monitor security and build confidence between the government’s Forces Armees de Côte d’Ivoire (FANCI) and the opposition Forces Nouvelles following the signing of a peace agreement in Linas-Marcoussis, France, that ended fierce fighting early this year.
Council resolution 1479 establishing MINUCI provides for deployment of 42 more military officers and a civilian component focusing on human rights, the media and preparations for elections in 2005.
Following a report from Secretary-General Kofi Annan noting that Forces Nouvelles had “unfortunately” pulled out of the Government of National Reconciliation, today’s resolution stressed “the urgent need for all parties to participate fully” in the government to enable it to implement fully the Linas-Marcoussis accord.
It requested Mr. Annan, who had asked for a six-month extension, to report to the Council by 10 January on “MINUCI’s efforts to facilitate peace and stability in Côte d’Ivoire, including how those efforts might be improved and in particular the possible reinforcement of the United Nations presence in Côte d’Ivoire.”
After the unanimous adoption of the resolution extending MINUCI’s mandate until 4 February 2004, the Council’s President for November, Ambassador Ismael Abraão Gaspar-Martins of Angola, read a statement in which the 15-nation body expressed serious concern that the peace process had been stalled, and emphasized “in particular the importance of the entire Government of National Reconciliation meeting as soon as possible in order to implement fully the content of the Linas-Marcoussis agreement.”
The statement stressed “the urgent need to begin reforming land law and electoral rules, restore public services and the authority of the State throughout the territory of Côte d’Ivoire, and end the use of mercenaries and illicit purchase of weapons.”
It also condemned attacks against UN personnel last month in Bouaké and Man, in opposition-held territory, and the murder of a French journalist in Abidjan, the government-controlled commercial centre.