December 2006 Monthly Forecast

Posted 30 November 2006
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AFRICA

Côte d’Ivoire

Expected Council Action
The Council will renew the mandate of the UN Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI), which expires on 15 December.

It is expected also to renew the sanctions regime under resolution 1643, which also expires on 15 December. The next report on sanctions by the Côte d’Ivoire Group of Experts is due by 1 December and its mandate-which also expires on 15 December-is expected to be prolonged for an additional six months.

Key Recent Developments
Tensions between the presidential side and the rebel New Forces (Forces Nouvelles) have continued, though overall, the situation has been calmer than some observers expected, especially around the missed deadline of 31 October for holding elections at the end of the transitional period.

On 1 November, the Council in resolution 1721 endorsed the decision by the AU Peace and Security Council to extend by one final year, until 31 October 2007, the mandate of the Ivorian president and the prime minister. The resolution also reinforced the prime minister’s powers and the role of the international community in the Ivorian peace process.

Critics claimed that the resolution had a degree of ambiguity that Ivorian political actors would exploit. Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo warned that he would not fully implement the resolution and announced that he would soon propose his own framework for resolving the crisis. Tensions between him and Prime Minister Charles Konan Banny have also increased recently.

Options
Options that the Council may consider include:

  • a simple resolution extending the mandate of the international forces (UNOCI and the French Licorne forces) as well as the sanctions regime by 12 months and reinforcing the UNOCI mandate to meet the requirements of resolution 1721;
  • a more extensive resolution, renewing in addition the mandate of the Group of Experts for six months;
  • alternatively, renewing the mandate of the international forces and the sanctions regime only until the end of the transitional period (31 October 2007), perhaps with a review process in June; and
  • boosting force levels as a deterrent by approving the Secretary-General’s requests to increase UNOCI’s troop level by three battalions, or expressing willingness to authorise a transfer of troops from the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) to UNOCI when necessary.

Key Issues
On the renewal of the mandate, several issues will need to be addressed by Council members. Members will need to decide whether the renewal period should be until 31 October 2007 at the end of the transition in order to send a strong signal to Ivorian political actors that there will be no other transition and to use the spectre of withdrawal to obtain compliance. The mandate could also be renewed until a few months after the elections in order to provide extra security guarantees after the results of the elections.

A related issue is whether a mandate review in June should be considered in order to maintain pressure.

The question of the UNOCI troop level will come up as the Secretary-General seems likely to again recommend an increase by three battalions. A possibility may be for UNOCI to redeploy internally as weapons are confiscated within the zone of confidence that divides the rebel- and government-held areas. This strategy may allow the Council to consider a smaller overall increase. Another possibility would be for the Council to consider provisions authorising a further transfer of troops from UNMIL to UNOCI. This could be used for emergency transfers if increased security becomes necessary. However, this will largely depend on the agenda for troop withdrawal from Liberia and it seems that the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Liberia is reluctant to recommend further withdrawals. The Council will also have to decide whether the previous troop-level increase (as in resolution 1682) should be renewed.

Another issue is how the UNOCI mandate should be altered to adapt to the requirements of resolution 1721, especially to provide additional security guarantees around areas where roadmap activities are conducted, and to better help the government conduct these activities, which include voter identification, disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration (DDR), and the organisation of elections.

The Council will also need to look at the question of how to finance the activities of the High Representative for Elections and DDR, as current funding seems insufficient.

By the time the Council meets to adopt the resolution, it will also have received a first assessment by the International Working Group on progress toward implementing resolution 1721. This may shed light on the underlying situation and suggest additional issues that need to be addressed in the resolution.

Council Dynamics
Members were divided on several issues prior to the adoption of resolution 1721. Russia, China, the US and Tanzania (with strong support from outside the Council by South Africa) believed that the original draft was too prejudicial to Ivorian sovereignty. Therefore, the final draft did not include provisions for the prime minister to appoint civilian or military officials, and it dropped a provision on the precedence of Security Council decisions over the Ivorian constitution.

France seems increasingly frustrated with the Council’s inability to act against spoilers in Côte d’Ivoire by adopting sanctions, and it is starting to seriously question whether its presence should continue in absence of political progress. The prospect of France withdrawing its troops from Côte d’Ivoire (which would increase the risk of the country sliding into a civil war) seems to be becoming an increasingly important factor.

The US, along with Japan, favours maintaining the current UNOCI troop level. Japan, however, is willing to push for troop transfers from UNMIL to UNOCI, while the US remains reluctant to explore that option as long as the situation in Liberia remains fragile.

Dynamics within the Council on Côte d’Ivoire may change in January when South Africa, previously opposed to sanctions and more sympathetic to Ivorian President Gbagbo, will join the Council.

Underlying Problems
The problem of impunity-failure to bring to justice those responsible for serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law-especially for militia members has been raised again recently following violent clashes between civilians and pro-government militias.

If President Gbagbo presents his own framework for the peace process, which would inevitably contradict the terms of resolution 1721, there is a risk that the process will collapse.

UN Documents

 Selected Security Council Resolutions
  • S/RES/1721 (1 November 2006) prolonged by one year the transitional period in Côte d’Ivoire and reinforced the powers of the prime minister.
  • S/RES/1682 (2 June 2006) authorised until 15 December 2006 an increase in the strength of UNOCI of up to 1,500 additional personnel
  • S/RES/1643 (15 December 2005) extended for one year the sanctions regime established under resolution 1572 (2004), established an embargo on the export of Ivorian diamonds and created a new Group of Experts of five members.
 Most Recent Reports
  • S/2006/835 (25 October 2006) was a report on children and armed conflict in Côte d’Ivoire.
  • S/2006/821 (17 October 2006) was the last UNOCI report.
  • S/2006/735 (13 September 2006) was the latest report by the Sanctions Committee
 Selected Letters
  • S/2006/855 (27 October 2006) was a letter from Côte d’Ivoire including the statement delivered by President Gbagbo at the ECOWAS summit on 6 October 2006.
  • S/2006/820 (16 October 2006) was the letter from the Secretary-General on the lack of financial contributions to support the activities of the High Representative for the Elections in Côte d’Ivoire.
  • PSC/AHG/Comm (LXIV) Rev. 1 (17 October 2006) was the AU Peace and Security Council decision on the situation in Côte d’Ivoire.
 
Other Relevant Facts
 Special Representative of the Secretary-General
 Pierre Schori (Sweden)
 High Representative for the Elections
 Gérard Stoudmann (Switzerland)
 Size and Composition of UNOCI
  • Authorised strength since 2 June 2006: up to 1,500 additional personnel
  • Strength as of 30 September 2006: 8,986 total uniformed personnel
  • Key troop-contributing countries: Bangladesh, Morocco, Ghana and Pakistan
 Cost
 1 July 2006 – 30 June 2007 $438.17 million

For historical background please refer to our 1 December 2005 Update Report.

Full forecast