PSC notes encouragement in Ivorian peace process

Addis Ababa- Ethiopia (PANA) -- Satisfied by developments in Côte d'Ivoire since the signing of the Ouagadougou Political Agreement, the Peace and Security Council (PSC) of the African Union (AU) has called on political forces and the civil society in the West African nation to consolidate the peace momentum, with a view to holding presidential election by the end of the first half of 2008.
The call, which came in a communique issued here by the PSC after its 104th meeting, came ahead of the start of the disarmament process in the West African nation at the weekend.
In the communiqué, the PSC said the commitment of the signatory parties to the Agreement had led not only to a new atmosphere but also created confidence for Côte d'Ivoire to move forward.
According to the council, the Ouagadougou pact, signed on 4 March 2007 and beefed with two supplementary deals in November 2007, has laid the ground for the presidential poll that has not been held since the 19 September 2002 rebellion by a section of the Ivorian armed forces.
Under the auspices of President Blaise Compaoré of Burkina Faso, Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo and Prime Minister Guillaume Soro on 28 November 2007 signed the supplementary agreements, committing themselves to accelerate the implementation of the Ouagadougou Political Agreement.
"I welcome this development and the concrete measures taken thus far by the parties to implement the Ouagadougou Agreement," said AU Commission Chairperson Alpha Oumar Konare in a report presented to the PSC session.
"The progress has been made possible by the resilient efforts deployed by the Facilitator, President Compaoré, as well as by the trust and confidence reposed in him by the parties," Konare added.
He assured the Facilitator of the support of the AU and encouraged him to remain actively engaged in the Ivorian peace process until its logical conclusion.
Meanwhile, the PSC has urged the Ivorian parties to intensify their efforts in order to speed up the implementation of the Ouagadougou Political Agreement.
In this respect, the Council insisted that parties to the Agreement should take all steps required to complete the identification process of the population and the voter registration, the dismantlement of the militias as well as the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) programme.
In addition, the PSC has demanded the effective re-establishment of state authority throughout Côte d'Ivoire and the re-establishment of state administration, as well as the unification and restructuring of the defence and security forces.
The seven-year political crisis has seriously affected the country's economy, with commodity exports falling while the neighbouring landlocked countries, Mali and Burkina Faso, had to transport their imports and exports via the ports of Ghana and Togo.
In order to pull Côte d'Ivoire out of its economic woes, the PSC has stressed the urgent need for all partners concerned to honour the pledges made during the Donors' Round Table held in Abidjan on 18 July 2007.
Also, the Council has urged the Untied Nations and the international community as a whole to continue to support the efforts of the Ivorian parties, and to provide the necessary financial, logistical and technical assistance for the implementation of the Ouagadougou agreement.

24 december 2007 10:28:00

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