On the eve of the General Assembly’s annual high-level debate, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon discussed progress achieved since the post-election crisis in Côte d’Ivoire with the country’s President, Alassane Ouattara.
According to a readout of the meeting at UN Headquarters in New York, Mr. Ban “welcomed gestures” from the Ivorian Government toward the political opposition.
He also encouraged continued efforts in the area of human rights and accountability, including for sexual and gender-based violations.
The West African country was split by civil war in 2002. A 2010 presidential election, meant to be a culminating point in the peace process, resulted in months of violence when Mr. Gbagbo refused to step down after losing to Alassane Ouattara. Mr. Gbagbo finally surrendered the following April.
Mr. Ban also commended President Ouattara for his leadership of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and thanked him for Côte d’Ivoire’s contributions to the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA).
The two officials also spoke about the reconfiguration of the UN peacekeeping mission in the country known by its French acronym, UNOCI.
The Security Council unanimously decided to extend UNOCI’s mandate until 30 June 2014 to continue work on its core priorities of protecting civilians, disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of former combatants, and security sector reform.
Members also agreed that the Mission should be reconfigured by that date to consist of 7,137 military personnel from the current limit of 10,400, as recommended in Mr. Ban’s latest report.
The Council noted a possible further reduction down to 5,437 military personnel by June 2015, depending on the security on the ground and the improved capacity of the Government to take over UNOCI’s security role.
The Council also decided that UNOCI should reconfigure its military presence to concentrate resources in high-risk areas to more effectively assist the Government in protecting civilians and stability the security situation in the country
During today’s meeting, Mr. Ban also noted that he had selected Côte d’Ivoire as a pilot for the implementation of the UN durable solutions strategy.
The strategy aims to support efforts to help returnees rebuild their lives in a secure environment, with basic social services.