The Security Council today expressed deep concern "at the persistent disagreements among Ivorian parties" over the appointment of an interim prime minister to lead the divided West African country into the next phase of its political transition after years of political unrest and a failed 2001 coup.
"The Security Council reaffirms that the rapid appointment of a prime minster is crucial to relaunch the peace process leading to the holding of free, fair and open and transparent elections no later than 31 October 2006," Russian Permanent Representative Andrey Denisov, whose country holds the rotating Council presidency for November, read from a presidential statement.
The prime minister, who should be designated without any further delay, must have all the powers and necessary resources described in a resolution approved last month and was essential to the full implementation of the electoral "road map" established by an International Working Group for Côte d'Ivoire, the Council said.
According to the October Council resolution the ministerial-level International Working Group would verify that a prime minister "acceptable to all" – Government, opposition and rebels – had broad responsibilities for security and defence, as well as the power and the resources to shepherd the country towards free, open, fair and transparent elections by the end of October 2006, according to the process the Group would designate.
The Working Group represents the UN, African Union (AU), the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the European Union (EU), the International Organization of the Francophone, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), six African countries, France, the United Kingdom and the United States.
The Security Council expressed its full support for the Working Group and welcomed its decision to hold a follow-up to its November meeting on 6 December in the Côte d'Ivoire's major commercial hub, Abidjan.
The Council also gave its support to the initiatives undertaken by the Chairpersons of the AU and ECOWAS, as well as the AU Mediator. The Council "reiterates it full support for them and urges them to expedite their efforts." As decided last month by the AU's Peace and Security Council and endorsed by a UN Security Council resolution, they had held consultations with the Ivorian parties to the 2003 Linas-Marcoussis peace agreement, Mr. Denisov said.
The Linas-Marcoussis was the first peace agreement to end the country's bitter civil conflict, which followed the attempted coup.
Commending the continuing efforts of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and the UN High Representative for the elections, the Council encouraged the Ivorian parties to cooperate with them and said it would fully support any determination the High Representative made in order to help the electoral process move forward.