Côte d'Ivoire

Côte d'Ivoire: Letter dated 29 December 2009 from the Secretary-General addressed to the President of the Security Council (S/2009/694)

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I have the honour to transmit herewith the letter dated 19 December 2009 from President Laurent Gbagbo of Côte d'Ivoire and President Blaise Compaoré of Burkina Faso (see annex). In their letter, the Presidents propose the deployment, for a limited period of three months, of a military unit of up to 500 troops from Burkina Faso to Côte d'Ivoire, as part of the United Nations Operation in Côte d'Ivoire (UNOCI), in order to reinforce the general security arrangements for the Ivorian presidential elections that are expected to be held by March 2010.

This proposal is consistent with article 8.2 of the Ouagadougou Political Agreement signed by President Gbagbo and the Secretary-General of the Forces nouvelles, Mr. Guillaume Soro, on 4 March 2007. In addition, at the meeting of the Permanent Consultative Framework on 3 December 2009, the Ivorian parties expressed concern about the delay encountered by the Integrated Command Centre in setting up the mixed units of 8,000 troops responsible for election security. So far, less than half of these troops have been sourced. In this context, we expect UNOCI and Licorne, which have been mandated to provide support to the Integrated Command Centre and other Ivorian institutions responsible for securing the peace process, to be requested to play a broader role in election security than previously envisaged. In view of the delay, the deployment of a unit from Burkina Faso would further strengthen the confidence of all Ivorian parties in the security arrangements for the elections.

The deployment of the proposed unit requires the authorization of the Security Council for a temporary increase in the authorized UNOCI force, which currently numbers 7,450. In the coming days, the Secretariat will prepare the financial implications of this temporary increase in the total authorized troop strength. It is also important to ensure that the deployment takes place by mid-February 2010, bearing in mind the time frame for the elections. In that context, the Secretariat is evaluating the capabilities of the proposed unit and the feasibility of its rapid deployment. In particular, the ability of the proposed unit to self-sustain will be critical.

I also have the honour to refer to my report to the Security Council on UNOCI of 29 September 2009 (S/2009/495), in which I indicated my intention to request the authorization of the Council for the temporary redeployment of one infantry company and two helicopters from the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) to Côte d'Ivoire, in accordance with the provisions of Security Council resolution 1609 (2005). Should the deployment of a contingent from Burkina Faso be feasible and acceptable to the Security Council, it would no longer be necessary to redeploy an infantry company from UNMIL. The transfer of two military helicopters from UNMIL to UNOCI would also have to be reviewed. I intend to revert to the Security Council with specific recommendations as soon as the evaluations referred to above are completed.

I should be grateful if you would bring this letter to the attention of the members of the Security Council.

(Signed) BAN Ki-moon

Annex

Letter dated 19 December 2009 from the Presidents of Côte d'Ivoire and Burkina Faso addressed to the Secretary-General

There has been significant progress in the peace process in Côte d'Ivoire, particularly since the signing of the Ouagadougou Political Agreement on 4 March 2007, and the recent publication of the provisional electoral list is a clear sign that the first round of the presidential elections will actually be held at the end of the first quarter of 2010, as envisaged by the Permanent Consultative Framework at its meeting on 3 December 2009 in Ouagadougou.

However, we, the Heads of State of Côte d'Ivoire and Burkina Faso, consider it necessary to reinforce the general security arrangements for the elections.

To that end, we envisage the deployment, for a limited period of three months, of an existing battalion of 500 troops from Burkina Faso to Côte d'Ivoire; the battalion, already trained and capable of immediate operation, was initially to be deployed to Chad as part of the United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT). We wish the battalion to be placed under the command of the United Nations Operation in Côte d'Ivoire (UNOCI) and to be supported by UNOCI.

We hope that you will consent to this initiative and we reiterate our gratitude for your continued support for the peace process in Côte d'Ivoire.

(Signed) Laurent Gbagbo
President of the Republic of Côte d'Ivoire

(Signed) Blaise Compaoré
President of Burkina Faso
Facilitator of the inter-Ivorian direct dialogue