Former combatants from Government and rebel forces in Côte d’Ivoire began regrouping on schedule this weekend in what the United Nations peacekeeping mission hailed as an important stage on the road to restoring peace and stability in the divided West African country.
The UN Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) today welcomed the fact that the two sides kept to the timetable of last month’s supplementary peace accord by regrouping in Tiébissou and Djebonoua as part of the Disarmament, Demobilization and Reinsertion (DDR) process.
“UNOCI will support the parties concerned in their efforts to complete all the DDR tasks in order to allow the peace process to register new advances with a view to making it irreversible,” the mission said, calling on the two sides to extend the operation to the other sites selected for this purpose.
“UNOCI once again reaffirms its determination to provide the support needed for the operation with a view to speeding up the end of the crisis and facilitating the holding of free, transparent and democratic elections, in a peaceful atmosphere, within the first six months of next year,” it added.
The Security Council established UNOCI in 2004 to help implement the peace agreement ending a conflict that, since 2002, had divided the country between the Government-controlled south and the rebel Forces Nouvelles-held north.
The regrouping accord was signed last month by President Laurent Gbagbo and Forces Nouvelles leader Guillaume Soro, who is now Prime Minister.