15 December 2006

Cote d'Ivoire: Security Council Extends UN Mission, Renews Diamond and Arms Sanctions

United Nations — The Security Council today extended by three weeks the mandate of the United Nations Operation in Côte d'Ivoire (UNOCI) while also renewing the ban on arms and diamond trade with the country, which is divided between a rebel-held north and Government-controlled south.

By a unanimously adopted resolution on UNOCI, the Council also extended the mandate of the French forces supporting the mission until 10 January 2007.

Secretary-General Kofi Annan had recommended a one-year extension, through 15 December 2007, in his latest report to the Council on Côte d'Ivoire.

That report issued a strong call to the parties to restart their stalled peace process and resolve their disputes.

In it, Mr. Annan emphasized that the mandate of Prime Minister Charles Konan Banny and President Laurent Gbagbo was renewed for a "final transition period not exceeding 12 months." He called on Mr. Banny and Mr. Gbagbo to "eschew confrontation and maintain a constructive working relationship."

By a separate resolution, also adopted unanimously, the Council today renewed until 31 October 2007 the arms and rough diamond bans it had previously imposed on Côte d'Ivoire.

The resolution noted that the Council could consider modifying or even lifting the measures before next October if the necessary conditions are met.

Other provisions of the resolution extended for six months the mandate of the Group of Experts monitoring the arms embargo, and demanded that all Ivorian parties, including the transitional Government and the rebel Forces Nouvelles, provide unhindered access to equipment, sites and installations to the Group, as well as to UNOCI and French forces.

The Council also threatened to impose targeted measures against persons the Committee determined were undermining peace and national reconciliation in Côte d'Ivoire, attacking or obstructing the action of UNOCI or the French forces that support it, committing human rights violations, or publicly inciting hatred and violence.

UNOCI has nearly 9,000 uniformed personnel supported by some 360 international civilian personnel, 500 local staff and 220 UN Volunteers.

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