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Additional UN troops and helicopters to stay on in Côte d’Ivoire

Additional UN troops and helicopters to stay on in Côte d’Ivoire

The Security Council today extended the deployment of the additional 2,000 troops and the air assets it sent to reinforce the United Nations peacekeeping force in Côte d’Ivoire in the wake of the violence that erupted following last November’s elections.

In a unanimously adopted resolution, the Council decided to keep the extra troops in Côte d’Ivoire until 31 July, while the three armed helicopters with their crews, which were redeployed from the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), will stay on until 30 September.

The reinforcements were sent in January to help the nearly 9,000-strong UN Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) protect civilians amid the violence that ensued after former president Laurent Gbagbo refused to step down despite the internationally recognized victory of opposition leader Alassane Ouattara in the presidential run-off elections.

The political crisis finally ended when Mr. Gbagbo surrendered in mid-April and then Mr. Ouattara was inaugurated the following month.

In a letter sent to the Council earlier this month, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon cited the “extremely fragile security situation” in Côte d’Ivoire as well as the “high risk of renewed conflict or violence” that remains in the country.

“There is still a high risk of renewed armed conflict and continued attacks against the civilian population, including with heavy weapons,” he wrote, as he recommended a further extension of the temporary redeployment of the three armed helicopters.

The Council today requested the Secretary-General to provide it with updated recommendations on the temporary arrangements by mid-September.