28 April 2006
In Presidential Statement Security Council Expresses 'Grave Concern' over Serious Delays in Implementing Disarmament, Demobilization Programme in Côte d'Ivoire
Calls for 'Targeted Measures' against Persons Blocking Implementation of Peace Process
NEW YORK, 27 April (UN Headquarters) -- While taking note of the progress achieved in the Côte d'Ivoire peace process, the Security Council expressed its grave concern today over serious delays in implementing the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programme, as well as identification operations for the elections scheduled for October.
A presidential statement, read out by Wang Guangya (China), its President for April, said the Council shared the Secretary-General's concern over the consequences of any additional delays in implementing the key deadlines of the road map. It continued to underline that targeted measures would be imposed against persons who blocked the implementation of the peace process by attacking or obstructing the action of the United Nations Operation in Côte d'Ivoire (UNOCI).
Welcoming the appointment of Gérard Stoudmann as High Representative for Elections, the Council warned that targeted measures would also be imposed against those who obstructed the action of the French forces, the High Representative for Elections and the International Working Group, or who publicly incited hatred and violence.
The Council reiterated its full support for Prime Minister Charles Konan Banny and for the International Working Group (IWG). It commended the Prime Minister for his initiatives, taken in cooperation with President Laurent Gbagbo, which had injected new momentum into the peace process and the road map, and which must lead to free, open, fair and transparent elections by 31 October.
Recalling the commitments made by the main Ivorian political leaders at their meeting in Abidjan on 8 April 2006, the Council urged them to fulfil those commitments without delay.
The meeting began at 12:25 p.m. and ended at 12:30 p.m.
The full text of presidential statement S/PRST/2006/20 reads as follows:
"The Security Council commends Prime Minister Charles Konan Banny, for his initiatives, taken in cooperation with President Laurent Gbagbo, which have injected new momentum into the peace process as defined by resolution 1633 (2005) and the road map established by the International Working Group (IWG), and which must lead to the organization of free, open, fair and transparent elections by 31 October 2006. It reiterates to him its full support.
"The Security Council expresses its full support for the IWG and endorses its sixth final communiqué dated 20 April 2006.
"The Security Council welcomes the appointment of Gérard Stoudmann as High Representative for Elections. It encourages him to take all necessary measures, in accordance with his mandate, to expedite the preparation of the electoral process. It calls upon all Ivorian parties to fully cooperate with him.
"The Security Council, while taking note of the progress achieved, expresses its grave concern at the serious delay in the implementation of the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programme, and of the identification operations. It recalls the commitments made by the main Ivorian political leaders in this regard at their meeting in Abidjan on 8 April 2006 (Yamoussoukro II ), under the auspices of the Chair of the African Union. It urges them to fulfil these commitments without delay.
"The Security Council shares the concern expressed by the Secretary-General in paragraph 74 of his report dated 11 April 2006 (S/2006/222), over the consequences of any additional delays in the implementation of the key deadlines of the road map.
"The Security Council invites, therefore, the Prime Minister, and the Government of National Reconciliation he leads, to immediately take all the measures necessary to the simultaneous implementation of the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration and identification operations. It also invites the IWG, in accordance with paragraph 10 of resolution 1633 (2005), to report to it any hindrance or difficulty which the Prime Minister may face in implementing his tasks.
"The Security Council will continue to evaluate and monitor closely the implementation of the road map, in particular the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration and identification operations. It continues to underline that targeted measures are to be imposed against persons to be designated by the Committee established by paragraph 14 of resolution 1572 (2004), who, among other things, block the implementation of the peace process, including by attacking or obstructing the action of UNOCI, the French forces, the High Representative for the Elections or the International Working Group, or who incite publicly hatred and violence, as provided in resolutions 1572 (2004) and 1643 (2005)."
Before the Council was the Secretary-General's eighth report on the United Nations Operation in Côte d'Ivoire (UNOCI), dated 11 April and covering the period since his report of 3 January (document S/2006/2).
In the report, the Secretary-General states that the January disturbances in Côte d'Ivoire have further emphasized the need to reinforce UNOCI's operational capabilities to enable it not only to perform its original mandate more effectively, but also to carry out the new challenging tasks prescribed by the road map. In the months ahead, the Operation would need to focus on curbing potential threats and helping to create a more secure environment to facilitate the implementation of key aspects of the peace process. Those aspects included the provision of overall security, disarmament, the dismantling of militias, establishing the identification process, extending State authority and preparing the elections.
The Secretary-General says that, despite the serious setback resulting from the January violence in Abidjan and western Côte d'Ivoire, some encouraging prospects for advancing the Ivorian peace process have emerged as a result of initiatives taken by Prime Minister Charles Konan Banny, with the support of President Laurent Gbagbo and other leaders.
At the Yamoussoukro meeting of 28 February, agreements were reached on the disarmament and identification processes, the preparation of elections and the role of media, among other outstanding issues, the Secretary-General says. The meeting helped to resolve the serious crisis that had stalled the work of the Independent Electoral Commission since it was reconstituted in October 2005. At the same time, the smooth organization of school examinations in the north, for the first time in three years, represents a promising step towards national reunification and reconciliation.
However, the Secretary-General notes that, while these recent positive developments have eased tensions and improved the overall political climate, considerable challenges still lie ahead. The progress achieved so far can only be sustained if further concrete and dynamic action is taken to begin implementing the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programme, dismantle the militia, redeploy State authority, identify voters and prepare for the elections.
Urging the parties to agree immediately on the modalities for implementing the crucial identification process, the Secretary-General says the United Nations would be prepared to help create a credible and transparent implementation process, if so requested, and if provided with the appropriate resources. As long as the militias and the Young Patriots remain mobilized, the security situation will remain fragile and potentially volatile. Meanwhile, disarmament of the militias must start, without delay.
The Secretary-General states that the processes leading to the full implementation of the road map for peace are extremely complex and will require the mobilization of significant resources, as well as full adherence by the Ivorian parties to the principles and objectives laid down in the peace agreements and Security Council resolutions. Given the very narrow window of opportunity and with time running out, any further delays or disruptions in the peace process will mean insufficient time to complete all the critical tasks, if elections are to be held by October.
Reminding the national authorities of their responsibility to ensure the security and freedom of all international peacekeeping personnel in Côte d'Ivoire, the Secretary-General says that the recent efforts by the Ivorian leaders to seek a peaceful settlement should be translated into concrete measures to guarantee the free movement of UNOCI, the French Licorne forces, humanitarian agencies and non-governmental organizations, throughout the country. There is also an urgent need to end the culture of impunity.
The Secretary-General concludes by stating that the dynamic partnership between the regional leaders, including the African Union and the Economic Community of West African States, and the United Nations has proved essential to securing the parties' continued commitment to fulfil their obligation under the various peace agreements.
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