Two United Nations peacekeeping missions and the Governments of Côte d’Ivoire and Liberia today agreed to mutually reinforce security along the border in light of recent attacks against neighbouring villages and towns, and to conduct joint riverine and land border patrols.
Today’s quadripartite discussion in Monrovia – which included representatives from the UN Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) and the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) – were meant to assist the security of the region, as well as to address the sources of conflict, such as reconciliation, the return of refugees and distribution of humanitarian aid.
During the meeting, the UN and Government representatives “vehemently condemned” the recent attacks, including an attack last month by armed elements in Petit Guiglo, in Côte d’Ivoire’s western region.
The participants “underscored that these recurrent armed attacks call for coordinated and consolidated cooperation between the two neighbouring countries, Liberia and Cote d’Ivoire, supported by their two partners, UNMIL and UNOCI, for the consolidation of peace and security along the border and in the sub region,” according to the communiqué that the meeting produced.
Among agreements related to boosting security, participants agreed to strengthen collaboration and coordination between the Security Forces through exchange of intelligence information and common actions, according to the document.
In addition, the representatives encouraged “the two countries to take practical steps towards the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of Ivorian ex-combatants and request UNMIL and UNOCI to continue providing appropriate support.”
Following the meeting, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Karin Landgren, said the meeting had been successful.
“The UN Security Council last September noted with satisfaction the increasing cooperation between the neighbouring Governments, and the two UN Missions, in coordinating security and judicial activities in the border areas,” she said in a press release.
“I am pleased to report the continued support of the UN, including to Operation Restore Hope; and to strengthened border patrolling, including the shared use by UNMIL and UNOCI of three armed helicopters.”
Operation Restore Hope refers to an ongoing operation led by the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) in southeastern Liberia started in June 2012.
The Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary General for Côte d’Ivoire, Arnauld Akodjenou, praised the efforts made by the two countries and welcomed “the significant progress made within the framework of collaboration between their security and defence forces.”
The Special Representative for Côte d’Ivoire, Albert Gerard Koenders, told UN Radio yesterday that the Mission is “in a situation of transition” and is putting greater emphasis on security, confidence-building, human rights and job creation.