2 May 2003

Secretary-General Appeals to Security Council, Wider International Community for Funds to Secure Peace in Côte d'Ivoire

NEW YORK, 30 April (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the statement, as delivered, by Secretary-General Kofi Annan to the Security Council meeting devoted to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on 29 April:

First, let me warmly welcome the distinguished Foreign Ministers from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) who are here with us today, and thank ECOWAS, as well as France, for the important role they are playing in the search for peace and stability in Côte d'Ivoire, through their support for the implementation of the Linas-Marcoussis Accord. On the military front, their peacekeeping activities have played a key role in averting escalation in the fighting.

Secondly, let me thank the members of this Council for the consistent attention they have given to the crisis in Côte d'Ivoire, and the role of the United Nations in the peace process. My Special Representative, Albert Tévoedjré, is currently chairing the follow-up committee established in accordance with the Linas-Marcoussis Agreement, and I am pleased at the progress Prime Minister Seydou Diarra has made in establishing the new Government.

The presence of such a high-level ECOWAS delegation shows today how seriously West Africa takes the problem immediately confronting us -- namely, how to replenish the depleted financial resources of Economic Community of West African States Force (ECOFORCE) so that it can continue playing its essential role in promoting peace in Côte d'Ivoire.

In this context, we must acknowledge the help already given by those donor countries and institutions that have been assisting ECOWAS from the beginning of its involvement in Côte d'Ivoire, and particularly for the deployment of ECOFORCE.

At this critical time, when the various Ivorian parties have at last begun taking important steps to implement the Accord, ECOWAS has found it necessary to decide on a substantial increase in the size of the ECOFORCE, in order to make it more effective. I appeal to members of the Security Council, and the broader international community, to quickly provide ECOWAS with the additional financial resources that will be required to sustain the ECOFORCE for the next six months.

In order to complement the peacekeeping efforts launched by ECOWAS and France, I have recommended the establishment of a small United Nations operation comprising military liaison components, as well as human rights, civil affairs, and media components. I hope that Council members will shortly authorize this mission, so that the United Nations can strengthen its role in the Ivorian peace process.

In conclusion, let me assure the distinguished ECOWAS Ministers that the United Nations will continue to cooperate with them, as we work together to help the Ivorian people recover the stability and prosperity for which their country was so well known in the past.

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