The peace process underway in Côte d’Ivoire, where elections are planned for later this year, dominated talks between the top United Nations official to the West African country and the President of neighbouring Burkina Faso.
During their meeting yesterday in the Burkinabé capital of Ouagadougou, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative Y. J. Choi and President Blaise Compaoré discussed ways of accelerating the end of the crisis in Côte d’Ivoire, which has been divided between the rebel-held north and Government-controlled south since 2002.
Mr. Compaoré helped facilitate the Ouagadougou peace agreement, signed in January 2003 by the Ivorian parties, which sets out a series of measures to deal with the political divide, including creating a new transitional Government and organizing free and fair presidential elections.
Discussions focused on the electoral process, in particular the financing and certification of the elections. The two also talked about the disarmament of ex-combatants and the dismantling of the militias, as well as tasks related to the implementation of the November 2007 Supplementary Agreements to the Ouagadougou accord.
In a recent report, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon noted that while security and political conditions in Côte d’Ivoire have improved in recent months, these are fragile gains given the slow progress in achieving key benchmarks of last year’s agreement, including dismantling militias.
Last week, the Security Council approved an extension through July of the UN Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) – headed by Mr. Choi – and French forces supporting it so the world body can continue to help the country carry out its peace accords, particularly the holding of free, open, fair and transparent elections.