July 2006 Monthly Forecast

Posted 29 June 2006
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AFRICA

Côte d’Ivoire

Expected Council Action
The Council will consider the Secretary-General’s report on the UN Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) due in the first half of July. There will be a discussion on the progress made toward the implementation of the roadmap to the 31 October elections as well as an anticipated recommendation for an additional reinforcement of UNOCI’s troop level. The Council will also review the outcome from the International Working Group (IWG) on Côte d’Ivoire. A presidential statement endorsing the work of the IWG is likely. Some discussion of additional targeted sanctions is also possible.

Options
The Council has the following options:

  • adopting a presidential statement supporting the IWG, welcoming the Secretary-General’s report and warning that further targeted sanctions are possible;
  • extending the list of individuals subject to sanctions for obstructing the political process;
  • adopting a resolution increasing the UNOCI’s troop level as recommended by the Secretary-General; or
  • adopting a resolution transferring troops and police units from the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) on a temporary basis to support the identification and disarmament processes.

Council Dynamics
The Council seems increasingly inclined to extend the list of individuals subject to sanctions for blocking the peace process. Recently the sanctions committee, despite the Ivorian government’s argument to the contrary, concluded that there was evidence that Ivorian forces were hindering the work of the international forces and that some local media were broadcasting hate messages. France may propose additional names, including perhaps those of influential politicians. Russia and China remain reluctant with regard to sanctions. However it seems they may be more willing to consider sanctions in cases involving hate media.

The other main dynamic that continues to divide the Council is UNOCI’s troop level. The United States is reluctant to increase the troop levels in the absence of progress on the roadmap. Other Council members seem ready to support an increase as recommended by the Secretary-General. There are differing views on the issue of a transfer of troops from UNMIL to UNOCI. Some members think that, because the situation in Côte d’Ivoire threatens to destabilise Liberia, a transfer is crucial, while others (especially the United States) are hesitant to reduce the strength of UNMIL because the situation is still precarious in Liberia.

Key Issues
The first issue to be considered by the Council is an assessment of the progress made toward the implementation of the roadmap. Council members will be keen to hear the views of the Secretariat on the recent developments in the Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration (DDR) and identification programmes. However, the Council will wait for the conclusions of the IWG in late July before taking action.

The second issue is additional sanctions against individuals found to be obstructing the political process, especially those spreading hate messages in the media or supporting the prolonging of the mandate of the National Assembly (in opposition to the IWG, which in January recommended that it be dissolved). A related issue is whether to discuss the list of names with the African Union before introducing it to the sanctions committee.

Looming in the background, a third issue is the role that the Council should play if it becomes clear that the October elections have to be postponed. Council members seem to be preparing to take this possibility into account and are hoping to find a common position on consequential issues, such as whether the mandate of President Laurent Gbagbo should be extended. But they are also conscious of the risk of premature action that could result in shifting expectations on the ground and actually hamper the process leading to the elections. The Council will also be keen to hear the views of the IWG and the African Union at the occasion of the AU Summit on 1-2 July. Indeed, France had requested that this assessment be made as soon as possible, but other Council members seemed to prefer that discussions on a possible prolonging of President Gbagbo’s mandate start after the AU summit. In any case, the Council is likely to be guided by the AU’s recommendations.

The Secretary-General will attend the AU Summit; on the margins of which he will hold a “mini-summit” on Côte d’Ivoire with President Gbagbo and other visiting heads of state.

It is expected that the Secretary-General will reiterate the need for additional troops in Côte d’Ivoire. However, new troops are not expected to be able to arrive in Côte d’Ivoire for some time and the current strength of UNOCI is not sufficient to handle the DDR and identification processes over the whole territory. While it seems unlikely that the United States will accept an additional troop-level increase, a temporary deployment to UNOCI of military and police units from the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) will remain an important issue.

Key Facts
The IWG was mandated to draw up a roadmap leading to free, fair, open and transparent elections as soon as possible and no later than 31 October 2006. The roadmap, presented in November 2005, spelled out among other things the DDR of government ex-combatants and rebel militias, the process of voter identification and registration, the restoration of security throughout the country, respect for human rights, and the possibility of imposing sanctions against those blocking UNOCI’s freedom of movement and media-monitoring.

Since then, the Council has been closely following the progress toward the implementation of this roadmap through the systematic endorsement of the IWG’s monthly final communiqués.

Recent Developments
In April, Ivorian leaders under AU mediation agreed that the DDR programme would be conducted simultaneously with the identification process for up to three million disenfranchised Ivorians.

A one-week pilot programme aimed at giving identity papers and voting cards to around 5,000 Ivorians and immigrants aged 13 and over who did not have a birth certificate started on 18 May in seven towns throughout the country. In the government-controlled south, only a few people showed up to the local hearings of the programme because of disruptions by supporters of the president known as the Young Patriots (or Jeunes Patriotes). While the Young Patriots claimed that thousands of foreigners would fraudulently obtain Ivorian nationality, others suggested that the Patriots fear that President Gbagbo could lose the elections if the entire population could vote. In the rebel north, the hearings were successful.

The pre-cantonment of the government forces (FANCI) and rebel forces (Forces Nouvelles) started on 23 May. Some combatants and militias members returned to designated sites, but the cantonment process still has to be launched on a national scale, once the nationwide identification hearings are on track, which is scheduled for the end of June. Therefore the actual disarmament, set to begin on 8 June, has not begun at press time.

On 2 June, the Council adopted resolution 1682 increasing the troop level of UNOCI by 1,500, including a maximum of 1,025 military personnel and 475 civilian police personnel. This reinforcement had been discussed since April, but it seems that both France and the United States were linking the possible increase in UNOCI’s troop level to the downsizing of the UN Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE), which was finally authorised in resolution 1681 of 31 May. Benin and Jordan are to provide the military forces while Nigeria, Bangladesh and Jordan are to provide the police units.

Underlying Problems

A recent Human Rights Watch report pointed out that human rights violations and impunity were threatening to disturb the run-up to the elections, with a risk of renewed violence. UNOCI continues to receive threats against its personnel and keeps being obstructed.

The cantonment phase should include the gathering of combatants at 75 sites in the rebel north and 35 in the government south. But those facilities are not yet available due to a lack of UNOCI capabilities and funding.

UN Documents

 Security Council Resolution
  • S/RES/1682 (2 June 2006) increased the strength of UNOCI by 1,500 personnel.

 Presidential Statements

  • S/PRST/2006/23 (24 May 2006) endorsed the seventh final communiqué of the IWG; strongly condemned violence against civilians, political leaders and impartial forces; and underlined the targeted measures against those blocking the peace process and obstructing UNOCI.
  • S/PRST/2006/20 (27 April 2006) endorsed the sixth IWG final communiqué; expressed concern at the delay in the DDR and identification processes; and underlined the targeted measures against those blocking the peace process and obstructing UNOCI.

 Last Secretary-General’s Report

  •  S/2006/222 (11 April 2006) was the latest report.

 Letters to/from the President of the Council

  • S/2006/345 (30 May 2006) letter from the President of the Council to the Secretary-General on the reinforcement of UNOCI.
  • S/2006/334 (26 May 2006) letter from the Secretary-General calling for a reinforcement of UNOCI.
  • S/2006/332 (26 May 2006) seventh IWG communiqué.
  • S/2006/294 (11 May 2006) letter from Côte d’Ivoire referring to human rights violations committed by French Licorne troops against the Ivorian Defence and Security Forces, including a statement made by the permanent representative to the Sanctions Committee on 12 April 2006.

Other Relevant Facts

 Special Representative of the Secretary-General
 Pierre Schori (Sweden)
 High Representative for the Elections
 Gérard Stoudmann (Switzerland)
 Size and Composition of Mission
  • Authorised strength since 2 June 2006: 8,115 military personnel and 1,200 police officers
  • Current strength as of 30 April 2006: 7,601 total uniformed personnel
  • Key troop-contributing countries: Bangladesh, Morocco, Ghana and Pakistan
 Cost
 1 July 2005 – 30 June 2006: $438.17 million

Useful Additional Sources

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