The UN must "provide its consistent support to the parties and to facilitation - both technically and financially - and do this through the end of the crisis," Djibrill Y. Bassole, Minister for National Security of Burkina Faso, said on behalf of the country's President, Blaise Compaoré, the Facilitator of the Ouagadougou Agreement.
The Ouagadougou agreement, struck on 4 March, sets out a series of measures to deal with the political divide in Côte d'Ivoire, which has been split between the Government-controlled south and the rebel Forces Nouvelles-held north since 2002.
"The peace process is well underway but it could prove vulnerable given the electoral issues at stake," said Mr. Bassole, stressing the need for international support to the holding of free, democratic presidential elections.
He called the Agreement an "acceptable and balanced way out for the parties" and said it had been welcomed in Ivorian political circles and by the country's people.
"The decision of the two parties to implement their commitments under the Agreement has made a major contribution to relaxing the political environment in Côte d'Ivoire," he said. "The rationale of confrontation that previously existed has given way to a rationale of useful partnership."
But he cautioned that implementation "is facing a number of challenges inherent in the very nature of the crisis and which are also tied to financing operations."
The Facilitator, Mr. Bassole said, is committed to resolving the crisis. "The parties to the Ouagadougou Agreement will not be able to carry out this process without the assistance of the international community, particularly the UN," he said, welcoming the role being played by the UN Operation in Côte d'Ivoire (UNOCI) and the French Licorne forces.
Meanwhile, in Ouagadougou, the Officer-in-Charge of UNOCI, Abou Moussa met with the Facilitator and other officials to exchange views on recent political developments in Côte d'Ivoire. "We acknowledged that there has been significant progress, that there have also been some difficulties, especially operational problems, but that the political will is there," he said.
In a recent report on the peace process in Côte d'Ivoire, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon recommends that UNOCI not begin to draw down its troop numbers at least until after the zone of confidence has been replaced successfully with a green line. The green line is to be marked by 17 UNOCI observation posts that will be dismantled progressively.