Côte d'Ivoire

Côte d'Ivoire: UN presses ahead with logistical support for future polls

The United Nations Operation in Côte d'Ivoire (UNOCI) is making taxis available to transport staff and equipment involved in the identification and voter registration process in preparation the West African nation's elections, which have recently been postponed for a third time.

Operation Transport, which was launched on Tuesday, will be carried out in Abidjan, the country's economic capital, the mission's spokesperson, Hamadoun Touré, told a news conference yesterday.

"The aim of Operation Transport is to reinforce the mobility and capacity of the Independent Electoral Commission with regard to the implementation and monitoring of identification," he explained.

He added that UNOCI would also participate in the transportation of identification equipment in the interior of the country in Toulepleu, Soubré, Zouan-Hounien and Danané.

The identification and registration processes were launched in mid-September in preparation for the elections that were slated for 30 November in the country, which is rebuilding after a brutal 14-year civil war.

However, the polls have now been delayed again for the third time since the signing of the north-south peace pact last year.

The Ouagadougou Agreement - signed in neighbouring Burkina Faso 18 months ago between the Government, which controlled the south, and the rebel Forces Nouvelles, which held the north - called for a number of measures to resolve the crisis that first divided the country in 2002.

They included creating a new transitional government; organizing free and fair presidential elections; merging the Forces Nouvelles and the national defence and security forces; dismantling the militias and disarming ex-combatants; and replacing the so-called zone of confidence separating north and south with a green line to be monitored by UNOCI.

Mr. Touré said that UNOCI would continue with its support for the identification and voter registration operation until its successful conclusion and the holding of the elections.

He stressed that the international community would continue its support, "but it does need a precise timetable in order to justify its intervention and make it more efficient."