Press Releases

                                                                                                                            6 April 2004

    Secretary-General Calls on Ivorian Parties to Implement Peace Agreement “Fully and in Good Faith”, as UN Peacekeeping Force Deployed

    NEW YORK, 5 April (UN Headquarters) -- The following message of Secretary-General Kofi Annan was issued today in Abidjan:

    The Secretary-General expresses his satisfaction with the deployment of the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) which began on 4 April 2004, as the Operation’s mandate came into force.  He congratulates ECOWAS whose contingents from Benin, Ghana, Niger, Senegal and Togo were rehatted under UNOCI in a solemn ceremony held today.  These contingents have been on the ground since late 2002, and, together with the French force Licorne, have carried the main burden of peacekeeping in the country under extremely difficult conditions.  The Secretary-General takes this opportunity to commend ECOWAS and France, who have significantly contributed to efforts to restore peace in Côte d’Ivoire.

    The Secretary-General also wishes to reiterate his strong appeal to the Ivorian parties to reject all forms of violence and take advantage of the window of opportunity provided by the United Nations’ peacekeeping presence, to re-engage in political dialogue aimed at genuine reconciliation for the benefit of all Ivorians.  To this end, the Secretary-General urges President Gbagbo to submit to the National Assembly the draft laws envisaged under the Linas-Marcoussis Agreement, cooperate fully with the international commission of inquiry to investigate the events of 25 March, and ensure that all civic and political liberties will be restored without delay.  The Secretary-General also strongly appeals to the opposition parties who have suspended their participation in the Government of National Reconciliation to resume it at the earliest, and invites all Ivorian forces to proceed with the DDR programme without delay.

    At the time when UNOCI has begun its deployment in Côte d’Ivoire -- at the unanimous request of all Ivorian parties -- it is crucial that they themselves demonstrate commitment to implement the provisions of the Linas-Marcoussis Agreement fully and in good faith.  In this regard, the Secretary-General wishes to remind them that the United Nations is coming to help the Ivorian people and not to impose or enforce peace, but to help them maintain it.

    * *** *