Côte d’Ivoire goes under strict UN scrutiny

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In a unanimously adopted resolution, the ban on diamonds and an arms embargo against Côte d’Ivoire, as well as targeted sanctions restricting the travel of individuals has been extended by another year, the United Nations Security Council have voted.

Special Representative Y. J. Choi, UN envoy to Côte d’Ivoire told the Security Council in an open meeting that increasing delays in the dual identification and electoral processes are imperiling the hard-won peace in the nation, which is rebuilding after a brutal 14-year civil war.

Nearly six weeks have passed since the launch of the identification and voter registration drive, which was slated to wrap up at the end of this month. ‘Unfortunately, the pace of progress has been painfully slow,’ Choi said. The pace will soon accelerate, but the magnitude of delay has taken almost everybody by surprise,’ he added.

The 15-member body of the security council of the UN today said it would review these measures next October to determine whether progress has been made in putting key aspects of the peace process into place and positive steps made in the long-delayed elections.

The resolution also extended the mandate by one year of the Group of Experts established to monitor sanctions against the country, calling on the parties to the peace pact, especially the Ivorian authorities, to provide unhindered access to the UN team to equipment, sites and installations.

It also said that any threat to the electoral process in Côte d’Ivoire, in particular any attack or obstruction of the Independent Electoral Commission in charge of the organization of the elections, constitutes a threat to peace and the country’s national reconciliation process.

The UN security council also requested Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the French Government to provide immediate reports should any serious obstacle impede the freedom of movement of the UN peacekeeping operation in the country.

Cote d’Ivoire has been under the UN sanction since the Ouagadougou Agreement – signed in neighboring Burkina Faso last March between the Government, which controlled the south, and the rebel Forces Nouvelles, which held the north calling for a number of measures to resolve the crisis that first divided the country in 2002.

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