Côte d'Ivoire

UN Security Council hears call for successful October elections in Côte d'Ivoire

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With elections in Côte d'Ivoire scheduled for October, all the parties involved must undertake the difficult tasks that will ensure that the electoral process is successful and major national problems are solved, according to a report sent to the United Nations Security Council on the implementation of the West African country's peace accords.

"Immense and delicate tasks are yet to be accomplished. To this end, it is imperative that all parties concerned continue to make coordinated efforts to ensure that the progress made is not lost and the anticipated elections in October do not prove to be a fleeting illusion," the Tripartite Monitoring Group said in its combined 13th and 14th reports, transmitted to the Council by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

The electioneering already under way in Côte d'Ivoire could draw attention from critical issues in the Accra III peace agreement of July 2004 which demand resolution, it says, pointing to uncertainties in starting the disarmament, demobilization and re-integration (DDR) exercise and divergent views on the laws governing nationality and the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC).

The Tripartite Monitoring Group, chaired by Nigerian Ambassador Raph Uwechue, comprises representatives of the peacekeeping UN Operation in Cote d'Ivoire (UNOCI), the continent-wide African Union (AU) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

"The role of the UN - UNOCI - has to be fully clarified and the feasibility of the increased tasks placed on UNOCI should be critically assessed and authorized by the Security Council," it says.

Under the Pretoria Agreement of April 2005, the likely role envisaged for the UN peacekeeping force would include helping units of the defence and security forces of Côte d'Ivoire to collect and store or destroy weapons, ammunition and explosives and providing security for disarmed militias by patrolling the areas of settlement, it says.

Meanwhile, the Zone of Confidence dividing the country and manned by UNOCI and French Licorne peacekeepers "has not lived up to its name and has become an area where lawlessness prevails, due to the absence of the police, administrative and judicial systems," the Group says.

Security was relatively good throughout the country, however, except in the west, where there were reports of ethnic tensions and grave human rights violations, while Abidjan, the relatively calm major city, was experiencing rising levels of criminality, it says.