Lauding progress in Côte dIvoire Security Council voices concern at instability

“The Security Council is convinced that a lasting solution to the problems of the sub-region also requires genuine cooperation among all States concerned, together with confidence-building measures and the personal commitment of Heads of State in the sub-region,” the Council President for July, Ambassador Inocencio F. Arias of Spain, said in a statement after an open meeting.The statement stressed that much remained to be done to fully implement the Linas-Marcoussis Agreement, a French-brokered peace accord reached in January that calls on the Government, rebels and political opposition in the West African country to share power in a transitional administration until elections in 2005.“The Security Council reiterates the need for Ivorian political forces to implement fully and without delay all the provisions of the Linas-Marcoussis Agreement, as well as those of the agreement signed in Accra on 8 May 2003 (“Accra II”), with a view to open, free and transparent elections being held in 2005,” the presidential statement declared.It noted with satisfaction the formation of a government of national reconciliation and the progress made, particularly the identification of cantonment areas and the delegation of powers to the Prime Minister, and looked forward to new progress.The statement also called on Ivorian political forces to redouble their efforts in the following areas: voting for the amnesty bill submitted to the National Assembly by the Government, the complete implementation of a “disarmament, demobilization and reintegration” programme, extension of public services and the authority of the State to areas still under control of the Forces Nouvelles, the appointment of ministers for defence and interior security, the guarantee of equal security for all ministers, the dismantling of militias throughout the country and the termination of the activities of mercenaries and of the purchase of weapons.The Council reiterated its full support for the efforts of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and France in contributing to a peaceful solution of the crisis, welcoming in particular the satisfactory deployment of their peacekeeping forces in the western part of the country to support implementation of the ceasefire.It also called on Member States to continue to respond to the appeal made at the donors’ conference in Paris on 18 July to provide logistic and financial support to the ECOWAS Mission in Côte d’Ivoire so that it can continue to fulfil its important mandate, and it invited donor countries to contribute to the reconstruction of the country.At the outset of the meeting, Prime Minister Seydou Elimane Diarra briefed the Council on the latest developments in Côte d’Ivoire since the signing of the Linas-Marcoussis Agreement and the formation of the National Reconciliation Government, reiterating his gratitude to Secretary-General Kofi Annan for his tireless support to the process of restoring peace to the country.Mr. Diarra noted that he had undertaken contacts with the country’s President and political forces on the appointment of the ministers of defence and security. Once he returned from New York, he would take up the initiative to address that issue, in order to have a full government. The Government was working normally and the functions of the ministers of defence and security were being carried out, he added.As to the next steps, the Prime Minister mentioned the extension of phase 3 of security throughout the country, and financing for the ECOWAS mission, the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programme, the redeployment of administration through the territory, and the provision of education and health services. The holding of fair, transparent and open elections would require assistance, as would humanitarian activities and the creation of employment. At the sub-regional level, the resolution of the Liberian conflict was crucial. A robust campaign against poverty reduction was also vital to providing stability, not only in Côte d’Ivoire, but also in the entire sub-region, he added. read more

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