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Peace efforts &possible sanctions in Côte d'Ivoire

Security Council supports peace efforts and warns of sanctions in Côte d'Ivoire

Security Council President Lauro Baja today reiterated the Council's support for peace efforts in Côte d'Ivoire while also warning opposing factions that those who threaten the peace or violate human rights in the country will be subject to international sanctions.

In a press statement, Mr. Baja commended the continued mediation efforts of President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa in helping the country inch its way towards national conciliation while also emphasizing the Security Council's continued support for peace efforts there by Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, the African Union (AU), and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

But the statement included a warning by Mr. Baja to any factions in the country that might upset the peace process, or engage in "serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law," and invoked the Council's mandate under "paragraphs 9 and 11 of resolution 1572 (2004), as well as the Pretoria agreement of 6 April 2005 which would allow the Council to take "appropriate action" to any threats.

The 30 October elections were called into question earlier this month, and then cancelled, according to a statement from the Secretary-General's office on 10 September, and the country remains by and large divided between the South and North.

Mr. Baja's statement was in part preparation for an upcoming visit to the region by Ambassador Vassilakis, Chairman of the [Sanctions] Committee to assess progress by all the parties towards implementing their commitments.

As recently as 31 August, Special-Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) Pierre Schori, said that a monthly report on human rights across the country at the time made for "grim reading" because of the absence of the rule of law, the daily harassment of people and the feeling of insecurity. Only 21 days ago, Mr. Schori said he has not seen as many Kalashnikovs as he had in Abidjan, the country's major commercial hub.

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