Update Report

Posted 18 January 2006
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Update Report No. 6: Côte d’Ivoire

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Renewed violence in Côte d’Ivoire, especially directed at UN forces, sets a worrying backdrop to the proposed Council consideration tomorrow of the renewal of the mandate for the UN Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI). The violence stems from the rejection by the faction supporting President Laurent Gbagbo of the recent interventions by African Union and UN mediators to facilitate a balanced power sharing situation in the lead up to the elections scheduled for 31 October 2006.

The AU/UN mediator, the International Working Group (IWG) on Côte d’Ivoire mandated by resolution 1633, decided on 15 January that the Ivorian parliament, whose mandate had expired mid-December, should be dissolved as part of the transition to new elections, despite a Supreme Court ruling allowing an extension of its term. Declarations of the ruling Ivorian Popular Front (FPI) accusing the mediation and the UN of a “constitutional coup” triggered a violent movement of protest against the UN presence in Côte d’Ivoire, led by the militia the “Young Patriots” close to President Laurent Gbagbo. Secretary-General Kofi Annan condemned yesterday what he called “orchestrated violence” against the UN.

It is in this context that the Security Council is meeting tomorrow to review the mandate of the UN Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI), due to expire on 24 January. It is expected that the Council will give strong support to the international mediator. A resolution strongly condemning the resurgence of violence, supporting the IWG recent decision and condemning any attempt to obstruct the work of the UN personnel or the French forces is likely. Perhaps there will also be a reminder that obstruction would trigger individual sanctions (in line with resolution 1643). It is also likely that, in view of the events, Council members previously reluctant to authorise any increase in UNOCI’s troop level will now support the Secretary-General’s recommendation in his latest report (S/2006/2) to reinforce the military component of the force by adding four battalions (3,400 troops) and the police component by adding 475 personnel. Finally, it is expected that the Council will authorise a redeployment of troops from the UN Mission in Liberia to Côte d’Ivoire, provided that the Secretary-General obtains approval from the troop contributing countries and the governments concerned.

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