The Security Council today extended the mandate of the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Côte d’Ivoire for another year to assist the country tackle the many challenges it faces following the recent post-election crisis.
In unanimously adopting resolution 2000, the Council decided that the UN Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) will remain in the country until 31 July 2012 at its current strength of nearly 9,800 troops, which includes the additional 2,000 troops deployed earlier this year amid the post-electoral violence.
The West African nation is emerging from a crisis that ended in mid-April, when former president Laurent Gbagbo finally surrendered, ending months of violence in the wake of his refusal to step down after he lost last November’s UN-certified run-off election to Alassane Ouattara, who was sworn in as President in May.
The country now faces a number of key post-crisis tasks, including the restoration of law and order, national reconciliation, the holding of legislative elections, and economic recovery.
It is to assist with these and other tasks that Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon recommended in a recent report that the Council extend UNOCI’s mandate for one more year.
“The crisis has taken a massive toll on Côte d’Ivoire and the country cannot be expected to bounce back swiftly to a level where it is able to contribute significant resources of its own towards addressing the immediate threats and priorities,” he wrote.
“The country will need our help at this critical time to enable it to get back on its feet,” said the Secretary-General, who met with Mr. Ouattara today at UN Headquarters in New York.
While at the UN, Mr. Ouattara also met with General Assembly President Joseph Deiss. They both underlined the importance of national reconciliation and stressed the need for the international community to continue to assist Côte d’Ivoire as it seeks to heal and rebuild.
UNOCI was established in 2004 by the Council to facilitate the peace process in the country, which became split by civil war in 2002 into a rebel-held north and Government-controlled south.