Secretary-General, Security Council praise Ivorian deal to appoint new Prime Minister

Secretary-General, Security Council praise Ivorian deal to appoint new Prime Minister

South African Foreign Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma
Commending the efforts of both sides to implement this month’s peace deal between rival political leaders in the divided West African nation of Côte d’Ivoire, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today welcomed the agreement earlier this week that has led to the appointment of a new prime minister.

Guillaume Soro, the Secretary-General of the rebel Forces Nouvelles, which controls the north of the country, has been designated to replace Charles Konan Banny as Prime Minister under a supplementary agreement struck on Monday.

An integrated command centre, which is tasked with reintegrating combatant forces and restructuring the country’s defence and security forces and will be run jointly by the Government and the rebels, was also established on 16 March.

In a statement issued by his spokesperson today, Mr. Ban commended Mr. Soro and President Laurent Gbagbo, whose Government holds the south of Côte d’Ivoire, for the steps they have taken to implement the Ouagadougou political agreement.

That agreement, reached in the capital of neighbouring Burkina Faso on 4 March, commits both sides to honouring all Security Council resolutions on the issue, including the need to abide by free, fair and transparent elections.

It also tackles other key issues such as disarmament, reform and restructuring of the armed forces and the restoration of State authority throughout the country.

Mr. Ban’s statement thanked Burkina Faso President Blaise Compaoré for his work to facilitate this week’s supplementary agreement and assured Mr. Gbagbo and Mr. Soro that the UN will work closely with them to implement the rest of the Ouagadougou agreement.

He also voiced gratitude to Mr. Banny “for his significant contribution to the peace process, in particular for his tireless efforts to rebuild trust among the Ivorian parties and launch the key disarmament and identification processes over the past 16 months.”

The Security Council also welcomed Mr. Soro’s appointment today and called on Ivorian political leaders to implement the remainder of their commitments under the Ouagadougou accord within the prescribed timetable.

Foreign Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma of South Africa, which holds the Council’s rotating presidency this month, read out a presidential statement in which the 15-member panel hailed the “spirit of compromise and sense of responsibility” that led to the deal in Ouagadougou.

The statement reiterated the Council’s view that the agreement provides a good basis for a comprehensive peace deal to end the stand-off in Côte d’Ivoire.

The UN Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) has nearly 9,000 total uniformed personnel in the country, including 7,850 troops and almost 1,000 police with a mandate to monitor the cessation of hostilities and movements of armed groups, help in disarmament and dismantling of militias and contribute to the security of the operation of identifying the population and registering voters.

National elections originally slated for last October have been postponed until this year.