The United Nations peacekeeping mission in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) today dismantled the last military post along the so-called Green Line between the Government-controlled south and the north of the country, where former Forces Nouvelles rebels are based, in line with a peace agreement signed last year.
Today’s event also marked the closure of a “zone of confidence” – a strip of territory 20 kilometres wide and 600 metres long that ran across the country – which was also set up under the so-called Ouagadougou Agreement that ended the country’s civil war last year.
After September last year, UNOCI deployed 17 military observation posts along the Green Zone. The mission said today that it was further scaling down its operations by closing around half of its 44 camps in the country, but added that it would continue its monitoring role to ensure that no armed forces in the area resumed hostilities.
Also today, the UN’s chief envoy to Côte d’Ivoire attended a celebration in Bouaké commemorating the lighting of a Flame of Peace which marked the reunification of the country a year ago.
At the event, the UN envoy, Y. J. Choi, accompanied the Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo and the President of Burkina Faso, Blaise Compaoré, who facilitated the Ivorian peace talks.
Yesterday, the Security Council extended UNOCI’S mandate by another six months and asked the mission to provide logistical support to the national Independent Electoral Commission as it prepares to hold the first round of the presidential elections, set to take place on 30 November.
UNOCI has pledged to help in the identification process of voters ahead of the elections, which were originally supposed to have been held in 2005 in the West African country.