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UN considers expansion in Côte d'Ivoire

Security Council extends UN mission in Côte d'Ivoire and considers its expansion

The Security Council today unanimously agreed to a short extension of the United Nations Mission in Côte d'Ivoire (MINUCI) while suggesting that it might later be expanded into a full-fledged peacekeeping operation.

Adopting a resolution, the Council extended MINUCI's mandate through 27 February and renewed authorization of the West African (ECOMICI) and the French (Licorne) peacekeeping forces for their present deployment in Côte d'Ivoire.

At the same time, the Council resolution responded to an earlier recommendation by Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who noted in a 6 January report that ECOMICI did not have enough funds to maintain forces and might have to be deployed as part of a multi-faceted UN peacekeeping force.

Today's resolution called on Mr. Annan, pending a decision on the reinforcement of the UN presence in Côte d'Ivoire, "to prepare the deployment of a possible peacekeeping operation within five weeks after such decision by the Council."

The Secretary-General's report stressed that expanding MINUCI from 34 military liaison officers to possibly 6,240 troops would depend on whether the Government of Côte d'Ivoire and the Forces nouvelles, now working together in a national reconciliation government, observed their peace agreement.

The agreement, signed in January 2003 in Linas-Marcoussis, France, ended fierce fighting between the Government and the then-rebel Forces nouvelles.

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