July 2009 Monthly Forecast

Posted 30 June 2009
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AFRICA

Côte d’Ivoire

Expected Council Action
The Council is expected to renew the mandate of the UN Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) which expires on 31 July. It will consider the Secretary-General’s report, due by 10 July, and is expected to be briefed by the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Côte d’Ivoire, Choi Young-jin.

Key Recent Developments
The political situation in Côte d’Ivoire has moved from gloom to cautious optimism. In mid-April, supporters of the former rebel Forces nouvelles had accused the national unity government of hindering the processes, reached under the March 2007 Ouagadougou Agreement, leading to the holding of presidential elections. At the same time, they called on their leader, Ivorian Prime Minister Guillaume Soro, to step down from his government post. But the situation shifted on 14 May when Soro announced 29 November as the date for the long-delayed polls.

Choi briefed the Council on 28 April and said UNOCI’s work in 2008 had focused largely on the country’s electoral process, particularly on the identification and registration of voters, a process in which UNOCI had provided technical, logistical and financial support. He expressed concern that momentum towards holding elections was being lost, especially since the timeline for any election seemed to depend on progress in the country’s reunification process.

The Secretary-General’s 13 April report on UNOCI indicated that the overall security situation in the country was stable but fragile, with largely unrestricted freedom of movement of people, goods and services throughout the territory. According to the report, Côte d’Ivoire had reached a stage where the two critical processes of reunification and elections needed to be completed in order to restore normalcy. (It is anticipated that his upcoming report will propose possible adjustments in the role and configuration of UNOCI.)

As part of the preparations for the November elections, a ceremony was held on 26 May in the former rebel stronghold of Bouaké to mark the transfer of authority over the northern part of the country from the Forces nouvelles (under its control since September 2002) to the Ivorian government. Soro, who presided over the event, stressed that it was not merely symbolic but rather an embodiment of the political will of signatories of the Ouagadougou Agreement to achieve reunification.

On 29 May the Council issued a presidential statement welcoming a communiqué adopted on 18 May by the Permanent Consultative Framework of the Ouagadougou Political Agreement (CPC). (This was established in 2007 following the Ouagadougou Agreement and involves Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo, Prime Minister Soro, and the leaders of the main opposition parties, Alassane Ouattara and Henri Bédié.) The CPC has proposed a new elaborate electoral timeframe anticipating presidential elections on 29 November. The Council in its statement underlined the need for effective implementation of the five stages leading to the elections:

  • publication of the provisional voters list at the end of voter registration;
  • publication of the final voters list;
  • production of identification and voters cards;
  • distribution of identification and voters cards; and
  • electoral campaigning.

Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Alain Le Roy visited Côte d’Ivoire from 10 to 12 June to assess developments. He held discussions with all the main national political actors during the visit on preparations for the November poll, and reiterated the support of UNOCI for ensuring secure and peaceful elections.

Key Issues
The key issue for the Council is ensuring the successful holding of presidential elections on 29 November, especially in light of repeated postponements.

A related issue is when to amend the mandate and troop level of UNOCI. (In resolution 1865, adopted in January, the Council expressed its “intention to review by 31 July 2009 the mandates of UNOCI and the French forces which support it, the level of troops of UNOCI and the benchmarks…in light of the progress achieved in the electoral process” and requested the Secretary-General “to provide to it a report to this end three weeks before this date”.)

Options
Options available to the Council include:

  • renewing the mandate of the peacekeeping mission for another six months without any modification until after the election;
  • modifying the mandate or troop levels of UNOCI (Council members have been inclined towards considering mandate modification in recent times, in part, to bring pressure to bear on the Ivorian political parties on the ground by signalling that the UN peacekeeping presence cannot be assured permanently and the consequent need for commitments and goals to be met by them in the peace and electoral process. Members are also interested in proactively exploring options for UNOCI and the French Licorne force’s future engagement in the country); and
  • reminding the parties that additional sanctions would be likely against those who may obstruct the peace process or the electoral process.

Council Dynamics
Council members seem relieved that a concrete electoral timetable has finally been set with the endorsement of all the major Ivorian political actors. If progress on the electoral process remains on track most Council members seem ready to extend the mandate of the peacekeeping force till after the November election. There is support for a review to modify the mission after the elections. However, Council members remain cautious in light of the numerous postponements of previously scheduled elections.

France is the lead country on this issue in the Council.

UN Documents

Selected Council Resolutions

  • S/RES/1865 (27 January 2009) extended the mandate of UNOCI until 31 July 2009.
  • S/RES/1842 (29 October 2008) extended the sanctions regime until 31 October 2009 and decided that any obstruction to the electoral process would be subject to sanctions.
  • S/RES/1643 (15 December 2005) renewed until 15 December 2006 the sanctions regime and established a diamonds embargo.
  • S/RES/1609 (24 June 2005) increased UNOCI’s contingents and authorised the temporary redeployment of military and civilian police personnel among the UN Mission in Liberia, the UN Mission in Sierra Leone and UNOCI.

Selected Presidential Statements

  • S/PRST/2009/16 (29 May 2009) was a presidential statement welcoming the CPC’s 18 May communiqué.
  • S/PRST/2008/42 (7 November 2008) expressed deep concern about the postponement of presidential elections, urged the Ivorian parties to complete the identification and registration of voters operations before the end of January 2009 and expressed its determination to fully support the electoral process on the understanding that elections will be organised before the end of spring 2009.
  • S/PRST/2008/11 (29 April 2008) welcomed the approval by the Ivorian authorities of the Independent Electoral Commission’s proposal to postpone the presidential elections to 30 November 2008.
  • S/PRST/2007/8 (28 March 2007) endorsed the Ouagadougou Agreement.

Latest Secretary-General’s Report

Selected Letters

  • S/2009/5 (5 January 2009) and S/2008/793 (16 December 2008) were the letters from the Secretary-General appointing experts to the Côte d’Ivoire Sanction Committee’s Group of Experts.
  • S/2008/834 (30 December 2008) was the letter containing the fourth supplementary agreement to the Ouagadougou Agreement.
  • S/2008/694 (11 November 2008) was a letter from Burkina Faso transmitting the press statement of the 10 November CPC meeting in Ouagadougou.

Other

  • S/PV. 6113 (28 April 2009) was a briefing by the Secretary-General’s Special Representative, Choi Young-jin, on the situation in Côte d’Ivoire.
  • 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)

Force Commander

Major-General Fernand Marcel Amoussou (Benin)

Police Commissioner

Major-General Gerardo Cristian Chaumont (Argentina)

Group of Experts

El Hadi Salah, Algeria (customs and coordinator of the Group of Experts)
Grégoire Bafouatika, Republic of Congo (aviation)
James Bevan, UK (arms)
Joel Hernando Salek, Colombia (finance)
Noora Jamsheer, Bahrain (diamonds)

Size and Composition of UNOCI

  • Strength as of 31 May 2009: 9,048 total uniformed personnel, including 7,661 troops, 197 military observers; 1,190 police; supported by 486 international civilian personnel, 645 local staff and 300 UN Volunteers
  • Key troop-contributing countries: Bangladesh, Ghana, Jordan, Morocco and Pakistan.

Approved Budget

1 July 2008 – 30 June 2009: $497.46 million

Full forecast