The United Nations peacekeeping mission in Côte d’Ivoire has welcomed the signing by the country’s political leaders of supplementary agreements to a major peace accord that is designed to end the prolonged national crisis and bring elections early next year.
The mission, known as UNOCI, issued a statement yesterday in Abidjan describing the signing of the supplementary agreements as “an important step in the right direction… [that] shows the willingness of the parties to ensure that the peace process is irreversible.
“It is an encouraging sign to the international community which, on a number of occasions, has reasserted its availability to help Côte d’Ivoire put an end to the conflict which has torn it apart from more than five years.”
Since 2002 the West African nation has been divided between the Government-controlled south and the rebel Forces Nouvelles-held north.
The new agreements – signed by President Laurent Gbagbo and Prime Minister Guillaume Soro – support the Ouagadougou Peace Agreement, which was reached in the capital of neighbouring Burkina Faso in March in a bid to end the ongoing stand-off.
That accord outlines a series of measures, including: the creation of a new transitional government; organizing free and fair presidential elections; the merging of the Forces Nouvelles and the national defence and security forces through the establishment of an integrated command centre; the dismantling of militias and disarming of ex-combatants; and the replacement of the so-called zone of confidence separating north and south with a green line to be monitored by UNOCI.
The mission added that it would continue to support the parties to implement their commitments under the Ouagadougou accord and the supplementary agreements.
Young-jin Choi, the recently appointed Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Cote d’Ivoire, also held consultations yesterday in Ouagadougou with Blaise Compaoré, Burkina Faso’s President and the Facilitator of the Ivorian peace talks.