The Security Council today welcomed the announcement of a timeline for stalled presidential elections in Côte d'Ivoire, with a first round of voting slated to take place at the end of November.
In a presidential statement read out by Ambassador Vitaly Churkin of Russia, which holds the rotating Council presidency for May, the 15-member body expressed the hope that the schedule would give new impetus to the 2007 Ouagadougou Agreement, a blueprint for political reconciliation in the West African country.
Last month, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for a realistic timetable for holding credible and transparent polls, which he said would bring to a successful conclusion the current transitional arrangement in the country, which has been divided since 2002 between the Government-held south and a northern area dominated by the rebel Forces Nouvelles.
In today's statement, the Council urged all Ivorian political actors to meet their commitments in full and without further delay to ensure that the schedule was met and that the resulting elections were free, fair, open, transparent and conducted in a secure environment,.
The 15-member body also underlined the importance of meeting the objectives of each of the five stages leading to the elections, including the publication of a provisional voters' list and a final voters' list the production and distribution of identification and voting cards and the electoral campaign.
In a related development, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Côte d'Ivoire, Y.J. Choi, met on Thursday with Prime Minister Guillaume Soro in Abidjan, the nation's capital, to discuss progress made in the peace process.
Although Mr. Choi, who also heads the UN Operation in Côte d'Ivoire (UNOCI), greeted the steps taken towards presidential elections, but cautioned that much needs to be done.
“There will be challenges to be met in order to achieve elections on 29 November, but we decided to do everything for the challenges to be met successfully,” he said.