February 2011 Monthly Forecast

Posted 28 January 2011
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Côte d’Ivoire

Expected Council Action

The Council is expected to continue its ongoing discussions on the tensions in Côte d’Ivoire. The sanctions committee is also expected to review the sanctions regime (on arms and diamonds, along with a targeted asset freeze and travel ban on certain individuals) in February. The Council may also extend the temporary deployment of some UNMIL troops to Abidjan to support UNOCI, which expires in mid-February. The mandate of UNOCI expires on 30 June.

Key Recent Developments
On 17 and 18 January, the AU mediator, Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga, visited Abidjan and held talks with Alasanne Ouatarra, who is widely recognised by the international community as the winner of the 28 November presidential run-off elections, and Laurent Gbagbo, who has refused to cede office since the elections. His mediation did not succeed in resolving the impasse

On 19 January Council adopted resolution 1967, authorising an increase in military personnel and logistics for the UN Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) and extended the temporary deployment of troops from the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL). Specifically, it authorised:

  • the deployment of an additional 2,000 military personnel to UNOCI until 30 June and extended to the same date various military and police capabilities authorised by resolution 1942, in line with the 7 January recommendation by the Secretary-General;
  • the extension by up to four additional weeks of the three infantry companies and one aviation unit composed of two military utility helicopters from UNMIL;
  • the transfer, on a temporary basis, of three armed helicopters with crews from UNMIL to UNOCI for a period of four weeks; and
  • the deployment of sixty police personnel to meet threats posed by unarmed crowds, to replace an equivalent number of UN police officers.

The Council also requested a review of personnel deployments in the next UNOCI report due 31 March and reiterated its readiness to impose measures, including targeted sanctions against those who obstruct the work of UNOCI.

On 19 January Secretary-General’s Special Advisers on the prevention of genocide, Francis Deng, and the responsibility to protect, Edward Luck, expressed concern about “the possibility of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and ethnic cleansing in Côte d’Ivoire.” They expressed the belief that urgent steps should be taken in line with the responsibility to protect, to avert the risk of genocide and ensure the protection of all those at risk of mass atrocities.

On 19 JanuarySwitzerland froze all assets held in that country by Gbagbo.

On 21 January UN spokesperson Martin Nesirky said that proposals by the Ivorian defence and security forces loyal to Laurent Gbagbo to stop and search UN vehicles ”are a serious violation of the Status of Forces Agreement and Security Council resolution 1962 and therefore unacceptable.”

On 22 January, Gbagbo’s administration announced that it had cancelled the accreditation of France’s ambassador to Côte d’Ivoire, following an earlier notification from Paris indicating that France had accredited Ali Coulibaly, Ouattara’s choice as Côte d’Ivoire’s envoy to France.

On 22 January heads of state of member states of the Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO) forced the resignation of the head of the bank, who was seen to be a key ally of Gbago and had ensured the latter’s cash supply, despite a previous decision by the bank to cut off access by Gbagbo to Côte d’Ivoire’s funds and recognise Ouattara as the legitimate president. The leaders subsequently requested that Ouattara name a new governor of the bank.

On 23 January Ouatarra called for a month-long international ban on cocoa exports from Côte d’Ivoire, as a further measure to increasing pressure on Gbagbo. (Côte d’Ivoire is the world’s leading producer of cocoa which is its number one source of revenue.) On 24 January the US said it supported Ouatarra’s call for a ban on Ivorian cocoa exports.

On 24 January Nigerian Foreign Minister Odein Ajumogobia wrote an editorial in his country’s local press stating that “ECOWAS requires unequivocal international support through an appropriate United Nations Security Council resolution to sanction the use of force…to legitimise the use of external force to effectively contain the increasingly volatile internal situation and ensure an enduring peace in Côte d’Ivoire and the West African subregion.”

On 25 January AU chairperson Bingu wa Mutharika travelled to the Ivory Coast to hold talks with Ouatarra and Gbagbo, in the lead up to the the AU Summit scheduled for 30 to 31 January.

On 26 January Gbagbo ordered the seizure of all local branches of BCEAO. Ouattara condemned the move stating that “this illegitimate and illegal decision to requisition is null and void” and indicated that anyone who participated in its implementation “will be subject to sanctions and criminal prosecution.”

On 26 January a delegation of West African leaders met with US officials in Washington DC to discuss the Ivorian crisis.

Human Rights-Related Developments
On 31 December, several UN human rights experts expressed concern about reports of enforced or involuntary disappearances, arbitrary detentions, summary executions and acts of sexual violence occurring in Côte d’Ivoire in the aftermath of the presidential elections. The experts included members of the working groups on enforced or involuntary disappearances and on arbitrary detention and four special rapporteurs. The special rapporteur on violence against women, Rashida Manjoo, called on all parties to do their utmost to prevent or prosecute sexual violence and offer judicial remedies to the victims. The special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Christof Heyns, urged all Ivorian parties to prevent extrajudicial executions and to take the necessary measures to protect the population. The special rapporteur on torture, Juan Méndez, pointed out that since arbitrary arrests, abductions and enforced disappearances enhance the risk that victims may be tortured, the authorities were under an affirmative duty to take steps to prevent acts of torture and cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment. The special rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, Margaret Sekaggya, urged all parties to respect the legitimate work of defenders.

Key Issues
A key issue for the Council, in light of its previous commitments to and resolutions on Côte d’Ivoire, is balancing its own role and the roles of the regional and subregional organisations to best effect so as to avoid the possibility of relapse into full-blown violent conflict and bearing in mind the risks associated with the previous history of violence based on ethnic lines.

A second issue is the position of the military reinforcements that have been temporarily deployed from UNMIL and balancing the immediate needs in Côte d’Ivoire versus the medium term needs in Liberia.

On sanctions, in light of recent developments, including reported incitement to attack UN personnel, an issue is whether the Council should use the February sanctions review to initiate action to impose targeted sanctions on individuals and entities found to be stoking political tensions and inciting violence.

Options for the sanctions committee include:

  • retention of the sanctions regime, without modifications;
  • adding new names to induce compliance with the peace efforts of the mediators; and
  • inviting ECOWAS ambassadors to a series of informal interactive dialogues with the Committee so that the Committee and the region can develop a joint strategy.

Options for the Council include:

  • renewing the mandate of the temporary deployment of UNMIL troops to UNOCI for a further month or two;
  • inviting ECOWAS to make a presentation to the Council—perhaps in a closed Council meeting—on its requests to the Council following the AU summit at the end of January; and
  • asking the Secretary-General to establish an intellectual high-level panel to review all the issues associated with the voting and perhaps also to oversee a review of the tallies as a tool to assist the regional mediators.


Council Dynamics
Council members appear ready to proceed with a review of Côte d’Ivoire sanctions as envisaged by resolution 1946. However, the circumstances are the opposite of what had been originally envisaged for the review when the resolution was adopted in October 2010. At that time, it was hoped the review would occur “in light of progress achieved in the electoral process” and implicitly anticipated action toward the lifting of the measures. The optimistic scenario no longer prevails.

Council members seem persuaded that the future presence of the temporary troops deployed from UNMIL to UNOCI should be based on developments on the ground and the Secretary-General’s recommendations.

Despite the Nigerian foreign minister’s recent indication that it was becoming imperative for the Council to authorise formally the use of force to oust Gbagbo as threatened by ECOWAS, some Council members remain uncomfortable with this strategy at this time. Some note the risks involved and the inevitable setback it would cause to the larger issue of peace consolidation in the country. Others note the inevitable impact on civilians and likely refugee flows. Russia and China have in the past expressed reservations about use of force in essentially internal matters. However, they have not indicated whether they view the situation in Côte d’Ivoire with its potential regional ramifications, especially on the historically restive Mano river area, in such terms.

The US, France and UK have been strong in their opposition to Gbagbo’s refusal to cede power. British Foreign Secretary William Hague has said that UK supports ECOWAS military intervention in principle, provided such action has the prior endorsement of the Council. The US is yet to indicate its position. At the time of going to press neither Nigeria nor ECOWAS had made a formal request to the Council in that regard and the outcome of the AU Summit is likely to be an important factor. (For further information please see our 14 January Update Report.)

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

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UN Documents

Selected Council Resolutions

  • S/RES/1967 (19 January 2011) authorised an increase of 2,000 troops in the overall strength of UNOCI military personnel and extended the mandate of troops temporarily deployed from the UNMIL to UNOCI.
  • S/RES/1962 (20 December 2010) renewed the mandate of UNOCI until 30 June 2011, authorised the temporary redeployment of up to four weeks of troops from the UNMIL to UNOCI, as well as the extension until 31 March 2011 of the temporary deployment of up to 500 additional military personnel to UNOCI, which was approved by resolution 1942.
  • S/RES/1951 (24 November 2010) authorised the temporary deployment of troops from UNMIL to UNOCI.
  • S/RES/1946 (15 October 2010) renewed the sanctions and the mandate of the group of experts until 30 April 2011.
  • S/RES/1942 (29 September 2010) authorised the deployment of 500 additional troops to UNOCI to help with security during the election period.
  • S/RES/1528 (27 February 2004) established the UNOCI.

Selected Presidential Statement

  • S/PRST/2007/8 (28 March 2007) endorsed the Ouagadougou Agreement.

Latest Secretary-General’s Report

Selected Letters

  • S/2011/5 S/2011/5 (7 January 2011) was the recommendation by the Secretary-General to the Council for additional military capacity to be authorised for UNOCI.
  • S/2011/3 (5 January 2011) was the Secretary-General’s letter informing the Council about his appointment of the Group of Experts monitoring the Côte d’Ivoire sanctions.
  • S/2010/601 (22 November 2010) was the request by the Secretary-General to the Council for approval of the redeployment of troops and aviation assets from UNMIL to UNOCI.
  • S/2010/493 (23 September 2010) was from the Secretary-General informing the Council about the head of UNOCI’s certification of the Ivorian electoral process.
  • S/2010/486 (17 September 2010) and S/2010/485 (14 September 2010) was the exchange of letters between the Secretary-General and the Council on raising the level of authorised UNOCI military and police personnel leading up to the presidential election.
  • S/2008/834 (30 December 2008) contained the fourth supplementary agreement to the Ouagadougou Agreement.
  • S/2007/144 (13 March 2007) contained the Ouagadougou Agreement.


  • SC/10149 (10 January 2011) was the latest press statement by the Council on the situation in Côte d’Ivoire.
  • S/PV.6415 (3 November 2010) was the briefing by Special Representative Choi to the Council on the situation in Côte d’Ivoire.

Other Relevant Facts

Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of Mission

Choi Young-jin (Republic of Korea)

UNOCI Force Commander

Maj.Gen. Abdul Hafiz (Bangladesh)

Chair of the Sanctions Committee

Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti (Brazil)

Group of Experts

Ilhan Mehmet Berkol, Turkey (customs/transport)

Omayra Bermúdez-Lugo, US (diamonds)

James Bevan, UK (arms)

Joel Salek, Colombia (finance)

Manuel Vazquez-Boidard, Spain (regional)

UNOCI Police Commissioner

Maj. Gen. Jean Marie Bourry (France)

Size and Composition of UNOCI

Strength as of 30 November 2010: 7,576 troops, 193 military observers, 1,336 police personnel, 383 international civilian personnel, 738 local staff and 267 UN volunteers

Approved Budget

1 July 2010-30 June 2011: $485.1 million

Full forecast

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