- Ahead of his next week's visit to Côte d’Ivoire, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has hailed the West African for attaining “steady progress” in several areas, including politics, security and economic recovery.
Until the signing of 4 March Ouagadougou Peace Agreement last year, Côte d’Ivoire government and Force Nouvelles had been embroiled in a five-year civil war. The war, which started in 2002, divided the country between the government-controlled South and the rebel-held North.
The peace accord ended the war, mandated a power-sharing government and holding of free and fair elections. It also led to the appointment of the former rebel leader, Guillaume Soro as Prime Minister.
UN chief was enthused with several advances being made by the signing of the Ouagadougou accord. He attributed these advances to the national ownership of the peace process and the "sustained partnership" between President Laurent Gbagbo and Prime Minister Soro.
“The parties should do everything possible to preserve the spirit of reconciliation, sustained dialogue and inclusiveness engendered by the Ouagadougou Agreement in order to keep the peace process on track,” Mr Ban said in a new report.
The report urged the need to promote disarmament, dismantling of militias, rehabilitation and the reintegration of ex-combatants. It also called for the reunificiation and reinstatement of state authority in the entire country.
Côte d’Ivoire's presidential polls have been pushed from June to 30 November this year. The delay was necessary to enable the completion of identification and voter registration process. Already, about half a million Ivorians have been issued new birth certificates.
Mr Ban praised Ivorian politicians for agreeing to hold elections this year, but warned that “the road to the elections, however, is fraught with a treacherous mix of technical challenges, security and political risks.”
He said the achievements could be hampered by serious funding gaps.
“While the elections will contribute to the consolidation of peace and stability in the country, they also bear serious risks, if they are not conducted in a transparent, fair and credible manner."
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