Insights on Côte d’Ivoire
Council members were briefed yesterday (Monday, 4 April) by the head of UN peacekeeping, Alain Le Roy, on the Secretary-General’s decision to give operational clearance for UNOCI to take “necessary measures” to prevent the use of heavy weapons against civilians in Abidjan pursuant to resolution 1975 which was adopted on 30 March. In this resolution the Council authorised UNOCI to use all necessary means to carry out its mandate to protect civilians, including to prevent the use of heavy weapons against the civilian population. Resolution 1975 also requested the Secretary-General to keep the Council urgently informed of measures taken and efforts made in this regard.
The Secretary-General had written to the French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, on 3 April requesting support from the French forces for military operations to be conducted by the UNOCI in accordance with resolution 1975. Sarkozy replied on 4 April authorising French forces to participate in a joint exercise with UNOCI.
During the consultations, Council members all appeared to agree that the actions taken by UNOCI did not go beyond resolution 1975. However, many called for UNOCI to remain impartial in implementing the mandate. Some members were keen to keep the political track open but others were more wary and cautioned that the political track needed to reflect the situation on the ground. The need to ensure that civilians were protected was also highlighted by some members.