28 January 2003

Secretary-General Urges Thorough Reform of Ivorian Defence, Security Forces

NEW YORK, 27 January (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the text of remarks, as delivered by Secretary-General Kofi Annan, to the meeting on the follow-up mechanisms for the peace agreement on Côte d'Ivoire in Paris, on 25 January:

Nous sommes réunis ici aujourd'hui pour entériner l'accord mettant fin au conflit qui ravage la Côte d'Ivoire depuis plusieurs mois.

Cet accord reflète la détermination des parties à consacrer dorénavant leurs énergies au bien-être et au progrès de tous les Ivoiriens.

En ce jour d'espoir pour la Côte d'Ivoire, je voudrais remercier tous ceux qui ont contribué à cette étape du règlement de la crise.

D'abord les parties ivoiriennes qui ont su dépasser leurs différences et privilégier le dialogue. Ensuite la CEDEAO qui a facilité un accord de cessation des hostilités.

Je remercie également l'Union africaine qui, avec la CEDEAO, a réussi à maintenir le contact entre les belligérants, à faire baisser les tensions et à créer une dynamique de paix.

Je voudrais aussi exprimer mes remerciements au Président Bongo pour les efforts sans relâche qu'il a déployés pour la paix en Afrique.

Enfin, je remercie la France qui a su conduire les négociations qui ont mené au présent accord de paix. Monsieur le Président, nous vous sommes reconnaissants, à vous et à votre équipe, des efforts que vous avez déployés.

Je ne veux pas oublier non plus de féliciter Monsieur Diarra pour sa récente nomination. Tous mes vœux de réussite l'accompagnent.

But we all know that this agreement is only the beginning. The real hard work -- the determined, sustained and good faith implementation of the agreement -- now begins.

The inspiration for viable and sustainable peace must come from you -- the leaders of Côte d'Ivoire. As I did this morning, I appeal to you once again not to let down the people, the country and the region.

The purpose of this meeting is to consider how the peace agreement should be implemented and how compliance with its provisions should be verified; and to devise an appropriate mechanism to monitor performance.

On the military side, given the Marcoussis agreement, the impending formation of a government of national unity, the presence of French troops, and the gradual deployment of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) troops, it should be very quickly possible to consolidate the ceasefire, begin disarmament, and help the Government to ensure that life returns to normal. I urge the international community to provide ECOWAS with all the support that was promised at the donors' conference in Paris on 14 December, so that it can play its part effectively.

I, on my part, will ask the Security Council to continue to support the peace process and the agreement you have concluded here in Paris, and to determine what further concrete steps it should take to support its implementation. I also intend to designate a Special Representative to work with you.

But there can be neither lasting peace nor security in Côte d'Ivoire without a thorough reform of the Ivorian defence and security forces. I urge the parties to set about this task without delay, and I ask Côte d'Ivoire's bilateral partners to supply them with the expertise and resources needed.

On the civilian and political side, the United Nations will draw on the experience it has gained in the management of complex political situations, around the world, to advise and assist you, as you press ahead with the implementation of the agreement you have signed. The tasks include reviving the national economy, rebuilding the administration and its presence throughout the country, reforming the electoral and judicial system, assisting displaced persons and refugees, and promoting national reconciliation.

It is also essential to provide a mechanism that can uncover all the human rights violations that have been committed. The perpetrators of these acts must be identified and brought to justice, whoever and wherever they may be. As you know, a United Nations team visited Côte d'Ivoire recently to investigate human rights abuses, and its report will be released shortly. Measures are also needed to guarantee respect for the rule of law -- including human rights and international humanitarian law -- from now on.

The United Nations will be especially vigilant in making sure that effective measures are taken for this purpose, and will work with you closely.

As agreed by the parties, an international follow-up committee will be established to facilitate the monitoring of compliance with the agreement. The committee will be based in Abidjan, and will include representatives of ECOWAS, the African Union, the European Union, France, the G-8, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the International Organization of Francophonie, and, of course, my own Special Representative.

I hope this committee can start work very quickly -- preferably holding its first meeting early next month. Its first task should be to draw up, in close collaboration with the Ivorian Government, a timetable for the implementation of the agreement. The Summit may wish to request it explicitly to do so.

The effectiveness of the follow-up mechanisms depends first and foremost on the parties themselves. But we must do everything in our power to help them achieve quick results. Let us not betray the hopes of the people of Ivory Coast.

* *** *