May 2010 Monthly Forecast

Posted 29 April 2010
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AFRICA

Côte d’Ivoire

Expected Council Action
In May the Council is expected to consider the Secretary-General’s report on UNOCI and to renew the mandate of the mission, which expires on 31 May. At press time it was not certain whether the head of UNOCI, Choi Young-jin, would brief the Council.

Key Recent Developments
The situation in Côte d’Ivoire remains largely unchanged. Key parties are making little progress in coming up with a new electoral timetable following a series of postponements. On 11 April, Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo and former rebel Forces nouvelles leader, Prime Minister Guillaume Soro, held discussions over the future of the political process.

On 14 April Ambassador Ilahiri Djédjé of Côte d’Ivoire sent a note verbale to Council members asserting that there had been systematic exploitation of natural resources in the rebel-held (northern) part of the country and claiming that some neighbouring countries had been delivering arms to rebels and complaining that the UN appeared indifferent to those developments. The note stressed that reunification (restoration of complete state control) of the country was needed before elections could be held.

On 15 April the chair of the Côte d’Ivoire Sanctions Committee, Ambassador Maria Luiza Viotti of Brazil, briefed Council members in informal consultations on the work of the Committee and the Group of Experts. Lapses in compliance with the sanctions regime (i.e. arms embargo, travel bans, assets freeze and diamond sanctions) and challenges posed to the work of the Group of Experts were identified. (For more details, please see our April 2010 Monthly Forecast). Some Council members reportedly expressed concern about the efforts by both the Ivorian government and former rebels to rearm and the implications for the security situation.

Key Issues
A key issue for the Council is how best to use the opportunity of its meeting to respond to the ongoing challenges in the political process. The lack of agreement on a new electoral timetable since the last (sixth) postponement of the presidential elections that had been scheduled for late February or early March and ongoing security concerns underscore the fragility of the situation ahead.

A related issue is the apparent level of comfort of key parties with the status-quo and whether the Council needs to reassess it past strategy about holding elections as soon as possible.

Another key issue for the Council is how much weight to give to the 14 April demarche from the Côte d’Ivoire mission. A related question is whether to adjust the mission’s mandate. (The delay in the submission of the Secretary-General’s upcoming report complicates the Council’s options since it limits the time to consider the recommendations.)

Underlying Problems
The continued inability of Côte d’Ivoire to return to legitimate governance through presidential elections prolongs instability and risk. The possibility of relapse into conflict has particular risks given the previous history of violence based on ethnic lines.

Options
Options for the Council include:

  • agreeing on a short rollover of the mandate of the UN Operations in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) to allow sufficient time for the Council to undertake a strategic review of options in light of the Secretary-General’s report; or
  • renewing the mandate of UNOCI in May for the standard six months and taking up the question of modifications later in the year, if and when there is greater clarity from the Ivorian parties on the electoral process.

Other options include:

  • taking a position now on the unacceptability of the current stalemate in the electoral process;
  • increasing pressure on individuals who are obstructing the peace process by imposing additional targeted sanctions;
  • sending a small Council mission to visit Côte d’Ivoire; and
  • encouraging the Secretary-General to send his Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide to the country, individually or as a part of a high-level team, in view of the fact that the issue of national identity lies at the core of the unrest in Côte d’Ivoire and the reports that former belligerent parties are rearming.

Council Dynamics
Council members are frustrated by the cycle of delays in holding elections with its attendant threat to peace and security. They are currently awaiting the report of the Secretary-General with recommendations on UNOCI to inform their decisions regarding the future of the operation. Council members have not ruled out the possibility of a technical rollover of the mandate, in view of their need to consider in detail the options regarding UNOCI’s future following the submission of the Secretary-General’s report in mid-May. If Ivorian parties were to agree on a new electoral timetable soon, that could be an additional factor that would influence the Council’s decision on UNOCI.

Consensus has yet to emerge among Council members on carrying through their decision to “react as appropriate…towards those who would block the progress of the electoral process” as indicated in its 8 December 2009 presidential statement and reaffirmed in its 28 January resolution. Some Council members reportedly suggested during the 15 April consultations that consideration should be given to adding individuals found to be obstructing the electoral process to the sanctions list.

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

UN Documents

Selected Council Resolutions

  • S/RES/1911 (28 January 2010) extended the mandate of UNOCI until 31 May 2010.
  • S/RES/1893 (29 October 2009) renewed the Côte d’Ivoire sanctions regime and the mandate of the Group of Experts until 31 October 2010.

Selected Presidential Statements

  • S/PRST/2009/33 (8 December 2009) noted with concern the postponement of the presidential election scheduled for 29 November 2009.
  • S/PRST/2009/25 (29 September 2009) expressed concern about the delay in the publication of the Ivorian electoral list and the Council’s intention to review the situation by 15 October 2009.
  • S/PRST/2008/42 (7 November 2008) expressed the Council’s determination to fully support the electoral process on the understanding that elections would be organised before the end of spring 2009.
  • S/PRST/2008/11 (29 April 2008) welcomed the approval by the Ivorian authorities 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

Latest Group of Experts’ Report

Selected Letters

  • S/2009/446 (4 September 2009) was on the preparation of the provisional electoral list for the Ivorian presidential election.
  • S/2009/5 (5 January 2009) and S/2008/793 (16 December 2008) were from the Secretary-General, appointing the Côte d’Ivoire Sanction Committee’s Group of Experts.
  • S/2008/834 (30 December 2008) contained the fourth supplementary agreement to the Ouagadougou Agreement.

Other

  • SC/9882 (17 March 2010) was the latest press statement by the Council on the situation in Côte d’Ivoire.
  • S/PV.6284 (17 March 2010) was the verbatim record of the last briefing to the Council on the situation in Côte d’Ivoire.
  • S/2009/626 (7 December 2009) contained the press statement of the sixth meeting of the Permanent Consultative Framework (Cadre permanent de concertation, or CPC) of the Ouagadougou Agreement.
  • S/2007/144 (13 March 2007) contained the Ouagadougou Agreement.

Other Relevant Facts

Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of Mission

Choi Young-jin (Republic of Korea)

Force Commander

Major-General Abdul Hafiz (Bangladesh)

Police Commissioner

Major-General Jean Marie Bourry (France)

Chair of the Sanctions Committee

Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti (Brazil)

Size and Composition of UNOCI

Strength as of 28 February 2010: 8,544 total uniformed personnel, including 7,194 troops, 196 military observers, 1,154 police; supported by 400 international civilian personnel, 695 local staff and 289 UN Volunteers.

Approved Budget

1 July 2009-30 June 2010: $491.77 million

Full Forecast