UN Extends Mandate in Côte d’Ivoire

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RAPAPORT… The United Nations Security Council has extended the UN mission to Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) until January 15, 2008 in order to oversee elections in the west African country.

“The situation in Côte d’Ivoire continues to pose a threat to international peace and security,” the council said.

Civil war in Côte d’Ivoire has split the country into the rebel-held northern and the government-controlled southern zone. The country is sill also the main source of conflict diamonds left in the global market and is the only country whose rough diamonds are under a UN ban.

The UN operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) has been active since April 2004 helping the warring parties implement the Ouagadougou peace agreement which was signed in January 2003.

By extending the UN mandate, the Security Council appointed a special representative of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon to certify all stages of the electoral process.

In citing Ki Moon’s latest report on Côte d’Ivoire, the council said that the ultimate test for the Ouagadougou Agreement lies in its ability “to resolve the fundamental issues that are at the heart of the Ivorian crisis.” These include the identification of the population, the disarmament of combatants, the reunification of the country and the re-establishment of State authority throughout the country, the report explained.

“Failure to address these issues could lead to the breakdown of the peace process, with dire consequences, not only for Côte d’Ivoire, but also for the sub region,” it said.

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