UN meeting leads to stepped-up diplomatic efforts to end instability in Côte d’Ivoire

21 September 2006

The Security Council is likely to meet next month to discuss the instability plaguing Côte d’Ivoire and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has agreed to hold a series of meetings on the issue before then amid mounting regional and international concern over the situation there.

ECOWAS decided it will hold meetings with other regional actors over the next few weeks following a high-level gathering on Côte d’Ivoire yesterday at United Nations Headquarters in New York.

UN spokesman Yves Sorokobi told reporters that those meetings will be staged with a view to holding a Council meeting before the end of October, when elections are scheduled to be held in the divided country.

Mr. Sorokobi said that although Secretary-General Kofi Annan was disappointed Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo did not attend, yesterday’s mini-summit was “far from a failure.”

Prime Minister Charles Konan Banny was one of several senior Ivorian political leaders who attended the meeting, along with represents of ECOWAS, the African Union (AU) and neighbouring States. UN participants included Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean-Marie Guéhenno and the Secretary-General’s Special Representative Pierre Schori.

The UN Operation in Cote d’Ivoire (UNOCI) has been in place since April 2004, replacing an earlier UN political mission. The country has been divided between the Government-controlled south and the rebel-held north since 2002.

Asked by journalists about reports that Mr. Gbagbo wants UN forces to leave Côte d’Ivoire, Mr. Sorokobi said the UN had received no formal notification of such a request.


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