The United Nations Security Council today urged the leaders of the Côte d’Ivoire to carry out their recent commitment to organize free and fair elections by the end of October and underlined the urgency of progress in establishing the electoral registers and starting the demobilization programme.
Following anti-UN violence earlier in the year that threatened the peace process of the divided West African country, the Council welcomed recent progress through a statement read out by it March President, César Mayoral of Argentina. He cited the establishment of an Independent Electoral Commission, the convening of the entire national Cabinet and the preparation of population identification and disarmament operations.
The Council also praised the organization of exams in the rebel-held north of the country, and commended Ivorian Prime Minister Charles Konan Banny for the initiatives taken in cooperation with President Laurent Gbagbo which it said “gave a new momentum to the peace process.”
Despite this progress, the Council reiterated its grave concern at the unrest in the West, where some of the worst anti-UN violence occurred, urging the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) to continue its redeployment there and calling for the return of the region to civilian authority.
It also strongly condemned the persistence of violations of human rights, attacks against members of the Government, obstacles to the freedom of movement of impartial forces, and the incitements to hatred and violence in the media.
Côte d’Ivoire was divided between north and south after the failure of an attempted coup against President Gbagbo in September 2002 triggered a civil war that ended with a peace agreement in January 2003.