The United Nations peacekeeping mission in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) announced today that almost 2 million people have been identified and registered to vote ahead of long-delayed elections, a key element in resolving a political crisis that in 2002 divided the West African country into a rebel-held north and Government-controlled south.
UNOCI said it will continue its efforts to pave the way for the polls, scheduled for 30 November, which were recently delayed for the third time.
Elections are one of the key benchmarks of last year’s Ouagadougou Agreement, the 2007 political accord reached in neighbouring Burkina Faso that aims to reconcile Côte d’Ivoire’s Government and the rebel Forces Nouvelles.
The pact called for a number of measures to resolve the crisis that first divided the country in 2002, including creating a new transitional government; merging the Forces Nouvelles and the national defence and security forces; dismantling the militias and disarming ex-combatants; and replacing the so-called zone of confidence separating north and south with a green line to be monitored by UNOCI.
In a press release issued in Abidjan today, the mission reaffirmed its support for the Agreement, which “has registered undeniable progress that has been recognized by the whole of the internationally community.”
It also called on all sides in Côte d’Ivoire to show restraint in order to consolidate gains that have been made thus far and continue the “peaceful” registration process launched in mid-September which has proceeded without major incident.
Last month, the Security Council called for the sides to wrap up the identification and registration process before the end of next January.
In a presidential statement, the 15-member body also voiced its support for a “credible electoral process” in Côte d’Ivoire, which is rebuilding after a brutal 14-year civil war, on the understanding that presidential elections will be staged before the end of the northern spring next year.