Secretary-General to appoint High Representative for Elections in Côte d'Ivoire

Secretary-General to appoint High Representative for Elections in Côte d'Ivoire

The new United Nations High Representative for the Elections in war-scarred and ethnically divided Côte d'Ivoire will be former Portuguese Foreign Minister António Monteiro, a UN spokeswoman said today.

The Security Council last month requested Secretary-General General Kofi Annan to designate an autonomous High Representative for the Côte d'Ivoire elections to assist with the work of the West African country's Independent Electoral Commission and the Constitutional Council, after consultations with the African Union (AU) and AU mediator President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa.

Mr. Monteiro's appointment falls under the requirements of the Pretoria Agreement, the most recent accord in the peace process aimed at ending civil conflict in the world's top cocoa producer.

As Portuguese Permanent Representative at the UN, he served as president of the Security Council in April 1997 and June 1998 and was ambassador to France from 2001 to 2004. He was Foreign Minister from July to December last year.

UN peacekeepers and French Licorne forces are stationed along the Zone of Confidence separating the country into the Government-ruled south and the rebel-controlled north.

Meanwhile, the UN Operations in Côte d'Ivoire (UNOCI) said it had chaired a reconciliation meeting of two ethnic groups in the Zone, a region known for ethnic confrontation and clashes.

UNOCI said it planned to rebuild the houses that were destroyed, repair the village school and bring the two communities together in peace.