Political impasse hampers Ivorian peace process -- UN envoy

New York- US (PANA) -- The ongoing political impasse in Cote d'Ivoire is contribu ting to heightened tensions and hampering efforts to normalize the situation in t he country, a UN envoy said on Friday.
The UN Secretary-General's Special Representative for Cote d'Ivoire, Y.
Choi, made this known, while briefing the UN Security Council.
He noted that the UN had been making efforts for eight years to overcome the pol itical crisis that split the country between the government and rebels.
"This political stalemate is hardly encouraging," Choi told the 15-member body o n the latest developments in Cote d'Ivoire.
"Indeed, during the eight years since the outbreak of the crisis, perennial dela ys in implementing the various peace agreements have been a source of deep frust r ation for the Ivorian people as well as the international community," he stated.
He also lamented that, "it is all the more so since the elections appeared to be within our grasp until several months ago".
According to him: "The events of February and March 2010 have demonstrated that the continuing failure to hold elections in Cote d'Ivoire and materialize the re u nification of the country contribute to heightening tensions and hamper constitu t ional, political, economic and social normalization".
Choi noted that the reason for the impasse was that the three major protagonists in the crisis were now dealing with their core interest.
He said that the presidential camp wanted reunification before elections, while the opposition wanted it the other way round.
The rebel Forces Nouvelles want re c ognition before reunification.
"As agreed by the parties in 2008, a de facto reunification is to be completed t wo months prior to the presidential election,'' the UN envoy added.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, in a recent report, noted that the lack of pro gress in resolving the impasse had led some to start questioning the relevance o f the Ouagadougou Peace Agreements.
The 2007 peace agreement, which is blueprint for political reconciliation, was s igned in Burkina Faso.
He warned that any deviation from the Ouagadougou agreements would be a cause fo r serious concern, noting that there was currently no alternative framework to t h ese agreements.
Ban also recommended maintaining the UN Operation in Cote dâ?Ivoire (UNOCI) unt il the end of the year with the same current total strength of its military and p olice components.
He said this was necessary in order to give Cote dâ?Ivoire a chance to walk the final mile to the elections with the full support of the United Nations.
Last week, the UN Security Council extended UNOCI's mandate until 30 June, while it continues to consider possible revisions to the missionâ?s mandate.

04 june 2010 16:46:00

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