Côte d'Ivoire

Security Council renews Côte d’Ivoire arms embargo, diamond trade ban, targeted sanctions until 30 April 2012, unanimously adopting resolution 1980 (2011)

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Security Council
6525th Meeting (AM)

Says Can Be Lifted, Modified Earlier, Depending on Progress in Peace Process; Côte d’Ivoire Says Renewal Needed So Development Not Compromised by Illicit Arms

Determining that the situation in Côte d’Ivoire continued to pose a threat to international peace and security in the region, the Security Council this morning renewed until 30 April 2012 its arms embargo and diamond trade ban on the West African nation, as well as targeted sanctions restricting the travel and finances of individuals threatening peace and national reconciliation there.

By resolution 1980 (2011), adopted unanimously under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, the Council decided to review those measures no later than 31 October 2011, with a view to possibly modifying, lifting or maintaining all or part of them amid progress in the peace process, the developments related to human rights violations and parliamentary elections, calling on Member States, especially in the subregion, to fully implement the measures.

Recalling that the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) was mandated to collect arms and related material brought into the country in violation of those measures, the Council expressed deep concern at the presence of mercenaries in the country, notably from neighbouring countries, and called on the authorities of Côte d’Ivoire and Liberia to coordinate their action to solve that issue. It also encouraged UNOCI and the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) to assist the Governments in monitoring their border, with particular attention to any cross-border movement of combatants or arms.

By other terms, the Council decided to extend the mandate of the Group of Experts — established pursuant to resolution 1572 (2004) to oversee sanctions measures in Côte d’Ivoire — until 30 April 2012, requesting it to submit a midterm report to the Sanctions Committee by 15 October 2011, and a final report, as well as recommendations to the Council, 15 days before the end of its mandated period, on the implementation of such measures. All Ivorian parties and regional States were urged to ensure the Group’s safety and unhindered access, notably to persons, documents and sites, for executing its mandate.

It requested both the Secretary-General and the French Government to communicate information gathered by UNOCI and French forces, and where possible, reviewed by the Group of Experts, on the supply of arms and related material to Côte d’Ivoire. It also requested the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme to communicate information on the production and illicit export of diamonds from the country, deciding to renew exemptions related to the securing of samples of rough diamonds for scientific research.

Speaking after the adoption, Youssoufou Bamba (Côte d’Ivoire) said the extension of the sanctions regime until 2012 was necessary to consolidate the “end of the state of belligerence” his people had suffered over the last four months. Indeed, Ivorians wished to achieve socio-economic development in a climate of peace and security — and did not want that work to be compromised by illicit arms flows.

Two weeks after Laurent Gbagbo had left power following his 28 November 2010 presidential defeat, “life in Côte d’Ivoire is coming back to normal, gradually but surely”, he said. President Alassane Ouattara now was dealing with urgent matters to improve daily life, including the restoration of public order and security, and especially in the economic capital of Abidjan.

Citing progress, he said the last bastions of insecurity had been stopped in Abobo and Yopougon, and the gendarmerie had resumed its work despite logistics problems. Moreover, the humanitarian situation had improved, with free care and medicine given at hospitals and more freedom of movement for humanitarian organizations. The Government was getting rid of corpses, cleaning the streets and helping people return home. Water and electricity had been restored throughout the country. Large banks had reopened, notably to pay salaries for March and April, as had schools, where teachers were “getting back down to business” after classrooms had been looted.

The most significant challenge was that of national reconciliation, he said, given the country’s “scarred social tissue” and “injured national cohesion”. After 10 years of political crises, it was unthinkable that national reconstruction could be undertaken without ownership of such work by Ivorians. In the coming weeks, President Ouattara would establish a truth and reconciliation commission, similar to that created in South Africa after the fall of apartheid, to bring justice to victims and their families, he said, adding that a pardon also might be appropriate to lead to that reconciliation.

“Any reconciliation is a process,” he said. “Ours is part of the emergence of democracy.” National reconciliation would allow for establishing the rule of law, and President Ouattara would spare no effort to achieve that objective. He looked forward to greeting the Department of Peacekeeping Operations in Côte d’Ivoire, expressing hope that the visit would allow for taking stock of the challenges in peacebuilding, security, reconstruction and national reconciliation.

The meeting began at 11:10 a.m. and adjourned at 11:25 a.m.