7957th Security Council Meeting: Situation in Côte d’Ivoire

Preview Language:   English
02-Jun-2017 01:30:08
Secretary-General’s special representative delivers final Security Council briefing as United Nations mission in Côte d’Ivoire prepares to draw down, at 7957th meeting.

Available Languages: Six Official
Type
Language
Format
Acquire
Original
MP3
English
MP3
/
Six Official
Other Formats
Description
Minister for Foreign Affairs Hails ‘Symbolic Moment’ as Country Wins Election to 15-Member United Nations Organ...

The Secretary-General’s Special Representative in Côte d’Ivoire delivered her final briefing to the Security Council today amid plans to withdraw the United Nations peacekeeping mission in that country later this month after 13 years deployed there.

Aïchatou Mindaoudou, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI), noted that, in December 2016, the three main political parties had participated in legislative elections for the first time in the country’s political history, a positive step towards democracy. Côte d’Ivoire had taken responsibility to return to its place as a standard-bearer for peace and security in West Africa, she added.

However, there had also been events of concern, she said, recalling that on 22 and 23 May, former combatants had raised barricades and held street demonstrations, calling upon the Government to pay them. That event had paralysed economic activity, she noted, adding that in in another incident, soldiers had directly attacked civilians, confirming the severity of the remaining challenges and the need for an immediate Government response. Although much had been achieved since the mission’s deployment in 2004, challenges persisted in relation to the fragile peace, transitional justice and the training of troops.

She went on to emphasize the urgent need for those in charge to improve discipline within the armed forces and to ensure the full reintegration of former combatants into society. It was also critical to end impunity in order to ensure justice for all, she said, adding that all those efforts would have to be stepped up because UNOCI would close its doors on 30 June. The Government still needed to put in place responsible security forces trusted by the people.

Marcel Amon-Tanoh, Côte d’Ivoire’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, assured the Council: “UNOCI leaves behind it a country which is stable and has peace.” Vowing that the mission’s closure would not slow down the pace of reconciliation and growth, he said the Government was aware of the remaining challenges, among them building an effective and professional army, a process that had been upset recently, he admitted. Many factors had contributed to the country’s success: the political will and high sense of responsibility demonstrated by the President, the exceptional synergy between the Government and UNOCI, and the unity and resolve of the Council and the international community. He said today was a symbolic moment for his country, having been elected a non-permanent Council member, and hopefully, lessons learned from its experience would help other countries hoping to go down a similar road to peace.

In the ensuing debate, delegates emphasized Côte d’Ivoire’s “extraordinary progress”, with Uruguay’s representative recalling that, just over a year ago, the Council had lifted the sanctions imposed on the country. “We can say with pride today that Côte d'Ivoire is no longer a threat to international peace and security,” he declared.

Speakers also stressed that lessons learned from UNOCI could be used to improve future missions, as Italy’s representative said the mission could offer invaluable first-hand knowledge about the success of United Nations peacekeeping for years to come.

Despite much progress, however, the international community would have to remain vigilant and continue to support Côte d’Ivoire, China’s representative said, pointing out that 9 of the 16 United Nations peacekeeping operations were in Africa. That meant peace on the continent was imperative to international security, he emphasized.

Echoing several voices that welcomed Côte d’Ivoire’s return to its place as a standard-bearer for democracy in West Africa, Senegal’s representative spotlighted the important work carried out by the country’s security forces in combating the growing threat of terrorism and violent extremism throughout the subregion.

Also speaking today were representatives of France, Japan, Russian Federation, United Kingdom, Egypt, Ethiopia, Sweden, Ukraine, United States, Kazakhstan and Bolivia.

At the outset, Council President Sacha Sergio Llorentty Solíz (Bolivia) read out a statement, on behalf of the Security Council, condemning the deadly terrorist attack in Kabul, Afghanistan, that targeted innocent civilians. After expressing their deepest condolences to the families of those killed and their sympathy to the people and the Government of Afghanistan, members observed a moment of silence.

The meeting began at 3:04 p.m. and ended at 4:36 p.m.

Briefing

AÏCHATOU MINDAOUDOU, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI), delivered her final brief before that mission’s withdrawal at the end of the month. She reported that, for the first time in the political history of Côte d'Ivoire, the three main political parties had participated in legislative elections, held last December, a positive step towards democracy. However, several challenges persisted, she said, recalling that on 22 and 23 May, combatants had raised barricades and held demonstrations in the streets, calling for payment by the Government. Such movements had paralysed economic activities in some parts of the country, she noted. Soldiers had also directly attacked civilians, which confirmed the remaining challenges and the need for an immediate Government response.

She went on to emphasize the urgent need for those in charge to improve discipline within the armed forces and to ensure the full reintegration of former combatants into society. It was also critical to end impunity in order to ensure justice for all. Recalling that Côte d’Ivoire had been “split into two” when UNOCI had first been deployed in April 2004, she said violations of ceasefires and human rights had been rampant. Since then, the human rights and transitional justice situation had shown some improvement, but there was still need to put in place responsible security forces trusted by the people, she said, noting that UNOCI’s closure would go into effect on 30 June. The drawdown of staff was already under way and close to completion, she added.

On lessons learned, she said she had three essential points to share with the Council. First, a peacekeeping mission could only achieve its goals and withdraw if and when the host Government became a determined partner in serving its own people; no mission could ever be a solution to the national challenges and problems that had led to conflict in the first place; and in the case of Côte d’Ivoire, the country had taken responsibility to return to its place as a standard-bearer for peace and security in West Africa. The second lesson was that a mandate supported by the full confidence of the Council made it possible to make the most of the mission. And third, a United Nations peacekeeping mission had a far greater chance to succeed when it enjoyed international support. Mediation by the African Union, the deployment of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) peacekeeping troops, the action of women in civil society and the commitment of bilateral and multilateral partners were all essential to progress.
Geographic Subjects
Parent ID
1899206
Asset ID
1900034