25 January 2006
Security Council Extends UN Operation in Côte d'Ivoire until 15 December, Unanimously Adopting Resolution 1652 (2006)
NEW YORK, 24 January (UN Headquarters) -- Seriously concerned at the persistent crisis in Côte d'Ivoire and of obstacles to peace and national reconciliation from all sides, the Security Council today extended the respective mandates of the United Nations Operation in Côte d'Ivoire (UNOCI) and of the French forces which support it until 15 December, and renewed an earlier decision to increase the mission's strength.
Acting under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, the Council unanimously adopted resolution 1652 (2006), by which it extended until 15 December the provisions of paragraph 3 of resolution 1609 (2005).
[By resolution 1609, adopted unanimously on 24 June 2005, the Council extended UNOCI's mandate and that of the French forces for seven months, until
24 January 2006, and authorized for that period an increase in the mission's military component of up to 850 additional personnel, as well as an increase in the civilian police component of up to 725 civilian police personnel, and the necessary additional civilian personnel.]
Also by today's text, the Council expressed its intention to review the Operation's tasks and troop level when it considered the forthcoming report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL).
That review would take into account the situations in both Cote d'Ivoire and Liberia, in light of the progress in the implementation of the road map established by the International Working Group towards free and fair elections no later than 31 October. [The African Union established the International Working Group last year to monitor and follow up closely the implementation of the peace process.]
The meeting was called to order at 1:20 p.m. and adjourned at 1:25 p.m.
The complete text of resolution 1652 (2006) reads as follows:
"The Security Council,
"Recalling its previous resolutions and statements of its President relating to the situation in Côte d'Ivoire and in the subregion,
"Reaffirming its strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and unity of Côte d'Ivoire, and recalling the importance of the principles of good neighbourliness, non-interference and regional cooperation,
"Recalling that it endorsed the final communiqué of the International Working Group (IWG) of 15 January 2006, and reaffirming the mandate of the IWG to assist the Prime Minister and his Government in the implementation of the roadmap it has established, and to evaluate, monitor and follow up closely the implementation of the peace process, in accordance with resolution 1633 (2005),
"Taking note of the report of the Secretary-General dated 3 January 2006 (S/2006/2),
"Expressing its serious concern at the persistence of the crises in Côte d'Ivoire and of obstacles to the peace and national reconciliation process from all sides,
"Determining that the situation in Côte d'Ivoire continues to pose a threat to international peace and security in the region,
"Acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations,
"1. Decides that the respective mandates of the United Nations Operation in Côte d'Ivoire (UNOCI) and of the French forces which support it shall be extended until 15 December 2006;
"2. Decides to extend the provisions of paragraph 3 of resolution 1609 (2005) for the period specified in paragraph 1 above;
"3. Expresses its intention to keep under review the tasks and the troop level of UNOCI, and specifically to review these when the Security Council considers the forthcoming report if the Secretary-General on the United Nations Mission in Liberia, taking into account the situations in both Côte d'Ivoire and Liberia, in the light of the progress in the implementation of the roadmap established by the International Working Group, in order to lead to the organization of free, fair, open and transparent elections no later than 31 October 2006;
"4. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter."
When the Security Council met this afternoon to consider the situation in Côte d'Ivoire, it had before it the latest report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Operation in Côte d'Ivoire (UNOCI) (document S/2006/2). Citing the volatile security situation there, the Secretary-General recommends the deployment of more than 3,000 additional troops and hundreds more police officers to strengthen the peacekeeping operation in the divided West African country.
The Secretary-General says in the report that the Council's expressed political determination to move the Ivorian peace process forward "must be matched by a commensurate reinforcement of UNOCI". Specifically, his recommendations, based on information obtained by a technical team sent to the country, call for an additional 3,400 soldiers, or four battalions, to be added to UNOCI's troop strength, along with an additional 475 police personnel.
Also according to the report, the increases are needed in light of the "possibility that another major violent crisis might occur". The UNOCI would also assist with the tasks of the broader peace process, which include disarming and demobilizing the former combatants. The proposed increase would be a marked expansion of UNOCI, which presently has an authorized strength of up to 7,090 military personnel and 725 police officers. The Council established the Operation in May 2003 to assist the Ivorian parties implement the January 2003 peace agreement, which ended their north-south civil war.
The report also says that the 6 October 2005 decision of the Peace and Security Council of the African Union, followed by the adoption of Security Council resolution 1633 (2005) and the efforts of the regional leaders, played a crucial role in preventing a dangerous political and security crisis that was anticipated at the end of President Gbagbo's mandate on 30 October 2005. These decisions have given the peace process in Côte d'Ivoire a "new lease on life". The Ivorian parties must seize this opportunity and implement the decision of the African Union and Security Council resolution 1633 (2005) fully and in earnest.
At the same time, the Secretary-General says he is deeply concerned about the artificially created dispute within the Independent Electoral Commission. Political bickering by the members of the Commission and those behind them will not only cause delays in the electoral process, but could also seriously undermine the credibility of this important body. He calls upon the political parties to work with the Prime Minister and the High Representative for the elections in resolving this dispute. He also fully supports the view of the International Working Group that, if need be, the High Representative should invoke his arbitration authority to decisively settle the matter.
The dangerous confrontation over the mandate of the National Assembly, which expired on 16 December, and the unjustifiable attempts to prolong the mandate in defiance of the decision of the International Working Group are very disturbing, the report states further. [The Peace and Security Council of the African Union established the International Working Group to assist Côte d'Ivoire in implementing the peace process.] The interim arrangement decided upon by the Working Group, under which legislation should be initiated by the Council of Ministers and signed by the President, pending further consultations with the Ivorian parties, including the Forum for National Dialogue, is consistent with Security Council resolution 1633 (2005) and must be respected by all parties.
The report goes on to say that the effective implementation of the road map for the transition period requires that the Ivorian parties fully comply with their obligations under the various peace agreements. In particular, apart from implementing the remaining tasks in good faith, they must respect the human rights of the Ivorian people, guarantee the freedom of movement of the impartial forces throughout the country and play their role in creating an enabling environment for the holding of free, fair and transparent elections.
It states further that the Mediation Group, the International Working Group and the Security Council will be carefully monitoring and reporting on all cases of obstruction of the peace process, including incitement to hatred and violence, human rights violations, obstruction of the freedom of movement of the impartial forces and violations of the arms embargo. The Secretary-General urges the Council to consider imposing targeted measures against individuals and groups who may be cited by the Working Group in this regard. The political leaders should put the national reconciliation and peace process above their short-term considerations; history will judge harshly those who do otherwise.
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