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Côte d’Ivoire urged: help humanitarian orgs return

Security Council urges Côte d’Ivoire to help humanitarian groups to return

The United Nations Security Council today urged Ivorian officials to help humanitarian groups return to the troubled West African nation since recent political unrest prompted many to leave.

In a statement read by this month’s president, Ambassador John Bolton of the United States, the Council also endorsed an arbitration decision that upheld the elections of members of the Independent Electoral Commission and stressed the need to guarantee the independence and neutrality of Radio Television Ivoirienne (RTI).

The Council also commended Prime Minister Charles Konan Banny for his efforts to implement the roadmap created by the International Working Group and the cooperation between Prime Minister Banny and President Laurent Gbagbo.

Council Resolution 1633, adopted in October 2005, allowed for the creation of the ministerial-level International Working Group and asked the body to draw up a plan, or roadmap, to move the country to free and fair elections as soon as possible.

Côte d’Ivoire was divided into a Government-ruled south and rebel-held north after the failure of an attempted coup against President Laurent Gbagbo in September 2002 triggered a civil war. Troops from the UN Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) and the UN-authorized French Licorne forces have been guarding the so-called Zone of Confidence separating the two areas in this nation, one of the world’s top cocoa producers.

Earlier this month, Secretary-General Kofi Annan sent the Government of President Gbagbo a bill for damage to UN offices that occurred during several days of political unrest last month.

The disturbances took place in the capital of Abidjan as well as Daloa, San Pedro, Guiglo and other parts of the country after a UN-authorized group recommended the effective disbanding of the National Assembly, whose mandate had expired.

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