January 2008 Monthly Forecast

Posted 21 December 2007
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AFRICA

Côte d’Ivoire

Expected Council Action
The Council is expected to renew the mandate of the UN Mission in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) which expires on 15 January 2008. The Council’s deliberations are expected to be guided by a new report of the Secretary-General on UNOCI (due in early January) as well as input from an upcoming meeting of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) scheduled for late January. It is possible that the Council may decide on a technical rollover of the mandate for a short period to enable it to reflect on the outcome of the ECOWAS meeting.

Key Recent Developments
In late November, discussions were held between Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo and Prime Minister Guillaume Soro (leader of the former rebel Forces nouvelles) on a new implementation calendar for the Ouagadougou Agreement of 4 March 2007. Their discussions culminated on 28 November in the signing of two supplementary agreements which fixed dates for national elections by the end of June 2008. The agreements also provided for resumption of the disarmament process by 22 December and the return of civil servants to the northern parts of the country by the end of January.

The agreed extension of the implementation calendar seems to imply a further extension of Gbagbo’s tenure as president and may lay to rest an issue flagged earlier by his opponents. (Gbagbo’s original presidential mandate expired on 30 October 2005. Since lack of progress in the peace process made it impossible to hold national elections, his tenure was extended twice for a maximum of one year each time by the AU with endorsement by the Council.)

On 29 October, the Council adopted resolution S/RES/1782, extending the current sanctions regime (arms embargo, diamond sanctions, travel ban and assets freeze) on Côte d’Ivoire as well as the mandate of the Group of Experts until 31 October 2008. The Council did not accede to the Ivorian government’s earlier call for partial lifting of the weapons embargo and individual sanctions. However, the resolution indicated that the Council would consider a formal request, but so far none has been received. Provision was made in the resolution for reviewing sanctions twice within the one-year extension period. The first review could follow either full implementation of the Ouagadougou Agreement and holding of credible elections, or at the latest 30 April. A further review is due by the 31 October expiry date.

On 22 October, the Council held private consultations on the peace process and was briefed by Djibrill Bassolé, foreign minister of Burkina Faso, representative of the facilitator of the Ouagadougou Agreement (President Blaise Compaoré of Burkina Faso), and by Abou Moussa, acting Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Côte d’Ivoire. The Council issued a press statement calling on all parties to meet their commitments under the Ouagadougou Agreement, while voicing concern about meeting benchmarks such as identification and registration of voters, ensuring the disarmament and dismantling of militias and restoring state authority throughout the country.

It also indicated that it was necessary to maintain the mandates of UNOCI and of its supporting French forces, as well as the troop levels of UNOCI. Council members stated their intention to review the situation by 15 January, on the basis of a new report by the Secretary-General.

On 17 October, the Panel of Experts on Côte d’Ivoire submitted its report to the Chairman of the Council’s sanctions committee on that country. This report, among other things, cited untraced weapons in the country as remaining a matter of concern, described illegal arms trafficking in the region as an issue of concern and signalled increased problems of access for embargo inspections following the signing of the Ouagadougou Agreement.

The newly appointed Special Representative of the Secretary-General to the Côte d’Ivoire, Choi Young-Jin (Republic of Korea), assumed his duties on 21 November and seems to have since engaged key political actors and civil society. His presence is expected to further bolster the UN’s role in the peace process in the country.

Key Issues
The major issue is the renewal of the mandate of UNOCI. Another related issue is the UN contribution to a successful and sustainable implementation of the Ouagadougou Agreement. This includes the identification and registration of voters, the disarmament process and dismantling of militia, the unification and restructuring of the defence and security forces, the restoration of state authority throughout the country, the protection of human rights and the staging of free and fair national elections. One lingering issue is a possible formal request by the Ivorian authorities for the lifting of individual sanctions (also mentioned in the Ouagadougou Agreement) and the partial lifting of the arms sanctions for law and order purposes. No official request seems to have been received, although President Gbagbo mentioned the issue in his statement to the General Assembly during its General Debate in September.

Options
Options before the Council include:

  • renewing UNOCI’s mandate and current troop levels without any substantial changes (a likely option);
  • renewing the mandate with changes, including provision for review of troop levels in the light of the situation during and after the general elections; and
  • expressing its support for the recently signed supplementary agreements to the Ouagadougou Agreement.


Council Dynamics
There appears to be general agreement in principle among Council members at this stage, although at press time there was still some uncertainty about the Secretary-General’s recommendations. But the prevailing view seems to be one of strong support for a UN presence to keep the fragile peace in the lead up to Côte d’Ivoire’s national elections.

With the departure of Ghana and the Republic of Congo from the Council, Burkina Faso is expected to play a leading role on this issue in the Council in January 2008, especially in the light of the role of its president as facilitator of the Ouagadougou Agreement. In addition, Burkina Faso is currently the Chair of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), which continues to play a major role in conflict resolution initiatives in the region.

France also traditionally plays a leading role on this issue in the Council.

UN Documents

Latest Security Council Resolutions

  • S/RES/1782 (29 October 2007) extended the sanctions regime until 31 October 2008.
  • S/RES/1765 (16 July 2007) extended the mandate of UNOCI until 15 January 2008.
  • S/RES/1761 (20 June 2007) extended the mandate of the Group of Experts until 31 October 2007.
  • S/RES/1727 (15 December 2006) renewed the sanctions regime until 31 October 2007.
  • 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.

Latest Presidential Statement

  • S/PRST/2007/8 (28 March 2007) endorsed the Ouagadougou Agreement, supported the appointment of Soro as prime minister and requested a report from the Secretary-General on the UN’s future role in the peace process.

Latest Security Council Press Statement

Latest Secretary-General’s Report

  • S/2007/593 (8 October 2007) was the Secretary-General’s latest report on UNOCI.

Other

  • S/2007/611 (17 October 2007) was the latest report of the Group of Experts on Côte d’Ivoire.
  • S/2007/515 (30 August 2007) was the report of the Secretary-General on children and armed conflict in Côte d’Ivoire.
  • S/2007/223 (19 April 2007) was the latest International Working Group’s communiqué, requesting its two co-chairs to consult with ECOWAS and the AU on its future role and recommendations to Security Council.
  • S/2007/144 (13 March 2007) contained the Ouagadougou Agreement.


Other Relevant Facts

Special Representative of the Secretary-General

Choi Young-Jin (Republic of Korea)

Group of Experts

Grégoire Bafouatika, Republic of Congo (aviation)
Agim de Bruycker, Belgium (diamonds)
Lipika Majumdar Roy Choudhury, India (finance/Coordinator of the Group)
Claudio Gramizzi, Italy (arms)
Vernon Paul Kulyk, Canada (customs)

Size and Composition of UNOCI

  • Strength as of 30 October 2007: 9,159 total uniformed personnel, including 7,833 troops, 189 military observers and 1,137 police
  • Key troop-contributing countries: Bangladesh, Ghana, Jordan, Morocco and Pakistan

Approved UNOCI Budget

1 July 2007 – 30 June 2008 $493.70 million

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