Côte d'Ivoire

Côte d'Ivoire: Impartial forces start checking weapons handed in by militiamen, UNOCI announces

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The Impartial Forces have been checking weapons collected within the framework of the dismantling of militias and entrusted to them, the Officer in charge of the United Nations Operation of in Cote d'Ivoire (UNOCI), Abou Moussa, announced on Thursday, 24 May 2007 in Abidjan.

Speaking at the Mission's weekly press conference, Mr. Moussa said that the disarmament process must be pursued to the end by the Integrated Command Centre (ICC). Everyone's objective, the acting head of the Mission insisted, is to see fewer weapons in the society. "A similar ceremony will take place in Bouaké in the next few days in accordance with the Ouagadougou Agreement", he added.

Mr. Moussa also told journalists that he had had discussions with a group of ambassadors at the beginning of week on the development in the peace process. Discussions focussed on the advances registered since the signing of the Ouagadougou Agreement and the tasks to be fulfilled under the timetable set by both parties, he said. "During our discussions, we concluded that it was necessary to encourage the Ivorian parties to speed up the process, which raises many hopes within the population," Mr. Moussa stated.

"The political will which everybody welcomes must result in an acceleration of the process in terms of actions envisaged in the Ouagadougou Agreement," he said. He reiterated the support and the assistance of the mission in Cote d'Ivoire "so that prospects for peace can be transformed into reality", adding that the Mission will remain active and vigilant in its task of accompanying the peace process so that the actions envisaged are fulfilled in accordance with the expectations of the population.

Also with the aim of preserving a climate of peace, the acting head of the Mission continued, UNOCI received the visit of a delegation of Young Patriots led by Richard Dakouri, Vice President of the Patriotic Alliance. "The meeting gave us the opportunity to clear up misunderstandings and to establish a new working relationship," he said. "We offered them our help to facilitate a round table meant to defuse tension among the young people."

For his part, the Chief of the Human Rights Division, Simon Munzu, expressed the astonishment and anxiety of the international community following the attack on the offices of the Ivorian League of Human Rights (LIDHO) and Action for the Protection of Human Rights (APDH) on 21 May 2007, just when the country was moving towards peace.

After holding a meeting and hearing the testimonies of the presidents of both organizations, representatives of African and European institutions, as well as ambassadors, decided to support the decision by LIDHO and APDH to lodge a complaint against X. Embassies and concerned organizations are to carry out bilateral actions and tell the authorities what their expectations as regards pursuing those responsible for the attacks, which was vigorously condemned by UNOCI on 22 May 2007.