RAPAPORT… Significant progress has been made in securing voters for a planned Cote d’Ivoire presidential election, according to the United Nations (UN). Hamadoun Touré, spokesperson for the U.N. operation in Côte d’Ivoire, urged those involved with the process to maintain their momentum. So far, the number of identified voters has surpassed 5.4 million. Presidential elections have been postponed several times, with the most recent postponement being November 30, 2008, but the hope is that once elections are held, conflict between the rebel-held north and government-controlled south will end. The date of the next election has yet to be set, however.
The UN renewed sanctions on diamonds from the Cote d’Ivoire through at least October 31, 2009 and the Security Council vowed to review sanctions “no later than three months after the holding of open, free, fair and transparent presidential elections.” In October 2008, the UN called upon the Kimberley Process (KP) to review the Ivory Coast’s diamond production and exports and report its findings before the end of April 2009.