Côte d’Ivoire: Annan says parties must consolidate peace gains ahead of polls

21 July 2006

All parties in Côte d’Ivoire, which has been divided between a rebel-held north and Government-controlled south since 2002, must work to advance the peace process as the country moves to elections scheduled for October, Secretary-General Kofi Annan says in a new report to the Security Council.

“The consolidation of the fragile gains achieved since the beginning of the year will need the sustained political will and efforts of all Ivorian parties,” he writes, calling on the country’s people to “renounce and condemn exclusion and incitement to hatred and violence.”

The Secretary-General notes that the Ivorian parties have worked to move the peace process forward, and says now more than ever the country is close to resolving key issues, especially the identification of the population, the disarmament of combatants and militias, and the restoration of State authority in the northern and western parts of the country.

But to take the country out of crisis, Mr. Annan says “sustained, focused and unambiguous efforts to expedite countrywide identification and disarmament are urgently required.” These, coupled with the restoration of State authority in the northern and western parts of the country, are indispensable to the holding of elections.

While calling on Ivorian political, military and militia leaders to carry out the road map, a plan put forward by the UN-authorized International Working Group (IWG) mandated to monitor progress in the Ivorian peace process.

“The international community needs to remain united in exercising pressure on all parties to deliver on their commitments, and the Security Council should not hesitate to impose targeted measures against any individual obstructing the peace process or inciting to hatred and violence,” Mr. Annan says.

Yesterday, Council President Ambassador Jean-Marc de la Sablière of France read a statement on behalf of the members threatening to impose sanctions, already authorized by a 2004 resolution, on anyone who blocked progress by inciting hatred, violating human rights or the arms embargo, or obstructing the work of the UN mission in Côte d’Ivoire (ONUCI), the French forces which support it, the High Representative for the elections, and other international facilitators.

As of 6 July, the troop strength of UNOCI stood at 6,896 military personnel, out of an authorized strength of 8,115 personnel, according to the report. “The shortfall is due to the delayed deployment of the Ghanaian military aviation unit, currently scheduled for July, and of the 1,025 additional military personnel” approved under a recent Security Council resolution.

These reinforcements, as well as the military personnel who will be deployed during the troop rotation process, are expected to receive basic training and specific equipment for crowd control. This will further enhance the capability of the military units to defend UNOCI installations and personnel, and complement the formed police units' operations requiring the use of non-lethal force.

But even with the recent authorized reinforcements, “the numbers still fall short of the troop level needed to adequately support the implementation of the road map for the peace process, as indicated in my previous reports to the Council,” the Secretary-General states, adding that he may request for additional reinforcements based on the security demands on the ground.

 

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