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Annan Warns Ivorian Leadership Over Peace Process

Annan Warns Ivorian Political Leadership Not To Delay In Reviving Peace Process

New York, Dec 8 2006 6:00PM

Now that the Security Council has extended the transitional government in divided Côte d’Ivoire for a final year, the country’s political leadership must not delay in restarting the stalled peace process and resolving their disputes, Secretary-General Kofi Annan says in his latest report on the West African nation.

Civil society must also put the national interest first and avoid partisan political agendas, Mr. Annan states in his report to the Council, which adopted a resolution on 1 November endorsing an African Union (AU) decision to renew the mandate of Prime Minister Charles Konan Banny and President Laurent Gbagbo “for a new and final transition period not exceeding 12 months.

The Secretary-General writes that the resolution provides a sound framework for re-launching aspects of the peace process, including the staging of long-delayed national elections, which have been stalled since August.

He calls on Mr. Banny and Mr. Gbagbo to “eschew confrontation and maintain a constructive working relationship,” especially in the areas of disarmament, identification of voters and the restoration of State authority.

“Ivorian political leaders and civil society… must together cultivate a culture of political accommodation and tolerance, fight impunity, tackle the hate media, rid the nation of xenophobia, pay attention to the insidious local land and ethnic conflicts in the west and contribute… to put in place a mechanism to guarantee the credulity and transparency of the crucial identication of the population,Mr. Annan says.

Welcoming the fact that “some technical preparations” for disarmament and identification have taken place despite the stalemate, Mr. Annan nevertheless urges all sides to recognize that exceptional measures – including the possibility of power-sharing arrangements – will be needed during and immediately after the transition period.

Côte d’Ivoire has been split in two between the Government-controlled south and the rebel-held north since the sides agreed to a cessation of hostilities in 2002. The UN Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) has more than 9,000 military or police personnel in place to maintain peace, and Mr. Annan recommends that its mandate be extended for another year until 15 December 2007.

The report notes that the security situation across the country is relatively calm, with only a handful of violent clashes – unrelated to domestic reaction to the Council resolution – taking place recently. Yet the humanitarian picture remains grim, with reports of fresh outbreaks among cholera and yellow fever.


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