New York: Ban, Quattara Discuss Progress in Cote d’Ivoire

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Cote d’Ivoire’s President Alassane Ouattara on Monday in New York held talks on the progress achieved in the country after the post-election crisis.

According to UN spokesperson Martin Nesirky, the Secretary-General expressed happiness with the progress recorded in the country and commended the Ivorian government for the harmonious working relations with the opposition parties.

Nesirky said Ban was also encouraged by the continued efforts in the area of human rights and accountability, including for sexual and gender-based violations.

He said the UN chief also commended President Ouattara for his leadership of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and thanked him for Cote d’Ivoire’s contributions to the UN Multi-dimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA).

The spokesperson also said Ban noted that he had selected Cote d’Ivoire as a pilot for the
implementation of the UN durable solutions strategy.

The strategy aims to support efforts to help returnees rebuild their lives in a secure environment, with basic social services.

PANA learnt that the two officials also spoke about the reconfiguration of the UN peacekeeping mission in the country, known by its French acronym, UNOCI.

The UN Security Council has unanimously extended UNOCI’s mandate until 30 June 2014 to continue work on its core priorities of protecting civilians, disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration of former combatants, and security sector reform.

The Council also agreed that the Mission should be reconfigured by that date to consist of 7,137 military personnel from the current limit of 10,400, as recommended in the Secretary-General’s latest report on Cote d’Ivoire.

It noted a possible further reduction down to 5,437 military personnel by June 2015, depending on the security on the ground and the improved capacity of the government to take over UNOCI’s security role.

Cote d’Ivoire was split by a civil war in 2002.

A 2010 presidential election, meant to be a culminating point in the peace process resulted in months of violence when Mr. Laurent Gbagbo refused to step down after losing to Alassane Ouattara.

However, Mr. Gbagbo finally surrendered the following April.

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