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Cablegate: Cote D'ivoire: Ambassador's Declaration For

VZCZCXYZ0001
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHAB #1300 3281037
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 241037Z NOV 06
FM AMEMBASSY ABIDJAN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 2190
RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 0926

UNCLAS ABIDJAN 001300

SIPDIS

DAKAR FOR USAID/OFDA/RDAVIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID PHUM PREF IV
SUBJECT: COTE D'IVOIRE: AMBASSADOR'S DECLARATION FOR
FY07 REVALIDATION OF CONTINUING DISASTER

1. During the last year, both disarmament of former
combatants from the 2002 rebellion and the
identification and registration of voters failed to
materialize. As such, Cote d'Ivoire remains divided
into three parts: the government-held south, the rebel-
held north, and the UN controlled Zone of Confidence
(ZOC) separating the two. Currently, there are some
13,000 peacekeeping troops in Cote d'Ivoire, including
about 9,000 with the UN Operation in Cote d'Ivoire
(ONUCI) and 4,000 with the French Licorne forces.

2. The decision to prolong President Gbagbo's mandate
for up to 12 months beyond October 31, 2005 did not
lead to the expected elections by October 2006. The
United Nations Security Council on November 1 endorsed
an extension of President Gbagbo's term in office for
up to one more year in order to allow for elections to
be organized.

3. The western region of Cote d'Ivoire is still highly
volatile. Militias remain strong despite disarmament
initiatives. In January 2006, in the town of Guiglo,
host to camps for refugees and internally-displaced
persons (IDPs), pro-government militia orchestrated a
wave of anti-UN violence, causing several deaths and
widespread damage and resulting in the withdrawal of
the UN forces posted there. ONUCI and UN forces in
Liberia (UNMIL) have been conducting joint patrols
along the Liberia-Cote d'Ivoire border to prevent arms
trafficking and the recruitment of Liberians into local
militia groups.

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4. Nationwide, business activity and living standards
are declining and the poverty level reached 41% in
2006. A toxic waste dumping scandal in September 2006
further exacerbated political tensions in the country,
and protests and strikes occur frequently in Abidjan
and elsewhere in Cote d'Ivoire. The provision of basic
social services to the general population remains very
low, especially in the north, west, and in the ZOC.

5. Given these developments and their negative impact
on the welfare of the civilian population, I request a
continuation of USAID/OFDA's foreign disaster
assistance in Cote d'Ivoire for FY 2007.

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