August 2006 Monthly Forecast

Posted 28 July 2006
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AFRICA

Côte d’Ivoire

Expected Council Action
The Council will keep under review prospects for holding the elections as scheduled on 31 October but final conclusions will probably not be drawn until September. Formal action in the form of further targeted sanctions is likely if the obstruction of the voter-identification process by supporters of President Laurent Gbagbo continues. A technical resolution to renew the mandate of the 1572 Sanctions Committee’s Group of Experts until mid-December is expected before 27 August.

Options
At time of writing, it was unclear whether the ongoing obstacles to the voter-identification process would be resolved in July. The Council will be looking to the International Working Group in Côte d’Ivoire (IWG) to secure a resolution of the issue. But if a solution is not found by early August it will be looking at the following options:

  • Imposing additional sanctions against individuals blocking the process.
  • Adopting a resolution transferring additional troops and police units from the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) to the UN Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) in order to provide more support for the identification of voters and disarmament programmes at the national level.
  • Reflecting on a possible postponement of the election, with the consequential issues arising regarding the legitimacy of any further role for Gbagbo, whose legal tenure will have expired.

Recent Developments
At press time, the Council is considering imposing sanctions against the leadership of the Front Populaire Ivoirien (FPI). A statement issued by the FPI on 12 July calling for a boycott of the voter identification hearings has sparked bloody demonstrations by the Young Patriots leaving at least one person dead in southern Côte d’Ivoire. Both the IWG and Kofi Annan condemned those disturbances and the IWG brought this to the attention of the Sanctions Committee.

On 19 July, the Council adopted a presidential statement urging the Ivorian parties to implement their commitments and calling on the IWG to monitor their implementation. The Council also underlined its readiness to impose targeted measures against individuals found to be blocking the implementation of the peace process. Furthermore, it requested the Secretary-General to submit a report in September on any obstacles remaining to implement the roadmap for elections and those responsible for any delay.

On 18-19 July, despite the agreements reached with the Secretary-General, supporters of president Gbagbo blockaded various cities and towns in Côte d’Ivoire and prevented the UN from proceeding with the voter-identification process.

On 5 July, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan organised a meeting in Yamoussoukro with the Ivorian parties (President Laurent Gbagbo, Prime Minister Charles Konan Banny, Forces Nouvelles leader Guillaume Soro, Alassane Ouattara and Djedje Mady), Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, South African President and mediator Thabo Mbeki and the foreign ministers of the Republic of Congo, Ghana and Burkina Faso. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the situation in Côte d’Ivoire and press ahead with the implementation of resolution 1633 and the roadmap to the elections. In addition to reaffirming previous commitments (especially the 6 April 2005 Pretoria Accord and the Yamoussoukro declaration of 28 February 2006), the parties decided that:

  • At least fifty mobile courts would be established and deployed for voter-identification sessions by 15 July.
  • A presidential decree would be issued by 15 July to allow the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) to adjust the electoral code.
  • The deployment of the IEC throughout the country would be completed by 31 July.
  • A follow-up mechanism to monitor the disarmament process would be set up among all parties.
  • The pre-cantonment process and the disbandment of the militia would be completed by 31 July.
  • Another meeting would be held in September on the margins of the UN General Assembly to assess what further decisions will be needed.

Key Issues
A key issue for the Council, given the other pressures it is facing at this time, is how to keep the pressure on all parties to implement the roadmap and systematically identify those responsible for any obstruction of the process. There are suggestions for a biweekly review of the implementation of the roadmap to be made by the IWG followed by Council consultations on the findings.

Another issue is the decision to be made if, either in August or September, it becomes clear that elections cannot be held on time. On the one hand, if it appears that the disarmament and identification programmes have been successfully launched on a national level, the issue will be the length and conditions of extension of President Gbagbo’s mandate. If on the other hand, there is little progress, or a continuation of the kinds of obstacles seen in late July, an alternative strategy will be considered.

If the disarmament and identification processes are finally launched at the national level, the UN Secretary-General will likely request a reinforcement of UNOCI. Transfer of troops from UNMIL is likely to become an issue.

Council Dynamics
Three months before the elections deadline, Council members seem agreed that a tough stance against individuals blocking the political process is essential.

Although there seems to be a consensus on the necessity to reinforce UNOCI as the disarmament and identification processes are undertaken, the US has again expressed reluctance to increase UNOCI’s troop level. It is unclear whether the US would agree to an additional temporary transfer of troops from UNMIL.

UN Documents

 Most Recent Security Council Resolution
  •  S/RES/1682 (2 June 2006) increased the strength of UNOCI by 1,500 personnel.
 Selected Presidential Statements
  • S/PRST/2006/32 (19 July 2006) welcomed the Yamoussoukro meeting, requested the Secretary-General to produce a report on the implementation of the parties’ commitments before a subsequent meeting in September, underlined the Council’s readiness to impose targeted measures and endorsed the eighth final communiqué of the IWG.
  • 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.
Secretary-General Report
  • S/2006/532 (18 July 2006) was the latest report in which the Secretary-General stressed the need for targeted sanctions as a way for the international community to exercise pressure to move the peace process forward.
 Selected Letters
  • S/2006/455 (29 June 2006) was the eighth IWG communiqué.
  • S/2006/516 (12 July 2006) was the communiqué of the high-level meeting held between the Secretary-General and the Ivorian leaders at Yamoussoukro on 5 July 2006.
  • 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 6 July 2006: 6,896 military personnel and 728 police officers. The reinforcements authorised under resolution 1682 will be deployed in July 2006.
  • 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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