UN’s Côte d’Ivoire mission extended with new mandate to cooperate on Liberian border
By a unanimously adopted resolution, the Council adjusted the tasks carried out by the mission, which has been deployed in Côte d’Ivoire since April 2004 helping the parties to implement a peace agreement signed in January 2003 ending their north-south civil war. The country has been divided between the rebel-held north and government-controlled south since 2002.
Under today’s resolution, UNOCI will coordinate closely with the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) in carrying out a voluntary repatriation and resettlement programme for foreign ex-combatants. This is part of UNOCI’s efforts to bolster the Ivorian Government in its bid to disarm former fighters, which the Council said should be carried out “with special attention to the specific needs of women and children.”
UNOCI will be responsible for destroying any weapons, ammunition or other military materiel surrendered by the former combatants, according to the resolution.
The UN’s Côte d’Ivoire and Liberia missions will also work together in implementing an arms ban including “by inspecting, as they deem it necessary and without notice, the cargo of aircraft and of any transport vehicle using the ports, airports, airfields, military bases and border crossings.”
UNOCI must “carry out its mandate in close liaison with UNMIL, including especially in the prevention of movements of arms and combatants across shared borders and the implementation of disarmament and demobilization programmes,” the Council said.
In helping the relief effort for the beleaguered people of Côte d’Ivoire, UNOCI will “facilitate the free flow of people, goods and humanitarian assistance,” including by helping to establish the necessary security conditions and taking into account the special needs of vulnerable groups, especially women, children and the elderly.
The mission is also tasked with supporting the organization of “open, free, fair and transparent elections, presidential and legislative, by 31 October 2007 at the latest.”
The most recent report of the Secretary-General to the Council, issued last month, contained a strong call to the parties to restart their stalled peace process and resolve their disputes.
The report emphasized that the mandate of both Prime Minister Charles Konan Banny and President Laurent Gbagbo was renewed for a “final transition period not exceeding 12 months” and called on the two leaders to “eschew confrontation and maintain a constructive working relationship.”
As of late last year, UNOCI had nearly 9,000 uniformed personnel supported by some 360 international civilian personnel, 500 local staff and 220 UN Volunteers.