UN Urges Calm in Cote d’Ivoire

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RAPAPORT… The United Nations deplored recent violence in Katiola and Divo, Cote d’Ivoire, as voter registration continues before its March presidential election. The U.N. peacekeeping mission in Cote d’Ivoire, UNOCI, appealed for calm in preparation for the final voters list, a vital step in the process towards the holding the long-delayed presidential polls.

UNOCI “encourages all the parties to work to resolve the issues while respecting their respective prerogatives,” spokesman Hamadoun Touré told reporters in Abidjan yesterday. Touré urged all parties to exercise self-control in order  to preserve and consolidate the “remarkable” achievements made in the electoral process so far.

Cote d’Ivoire, which is considered a source of conflict diamonds, has postponed presidential elections repeatedly since 2005 and most recently as November 2009. Elections  are now slated for March.

Touré noted that, while it is not UNOCI’s responsibility to decide on an election date, there were risks of yet further delays. “Taking into account all the remaining phases, simple mathematics shows that time is not on our side,” he said.

This past week, the U.N. Security Council extended UNOCI’s mandate through May 31, 2010, and the French forces supporting it, to help Côte d’Ivoire stage free, fair and transparent elections. It was only after these elections are held would the Security Council reassess the diamond embargo and other measures.


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