UN Security Council appeals for calm in Cote d'Ivoire

New York, US (PANA) - The UN Security Council has called for calm in Cote d' Ivoire amid reported violence in the country following the release of the results of the 28 November presidential run-off elections.

The country's Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) on Thursday declared former Prime Minister Alassane Ouattara the winner of the elections in which he ran against incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo.

In a statement, made available to PANA in New York on Friday, the security council welcomed the announcement of the provisional results.

It said that the release of the results was "a crucial step for ensuring the validity and integrity of the electoral process''.

The statement was issued by the Permanent Representative of the US to the UN, Ambassador Susan Rice, which holds the council’s presidency for December.

The statement followed a closed-door meeting of the council in which members were briefed on the latest developments via videolink by the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Cote d’Ivoire, Y. J. Choi.

The 15-member body took note of Choi’s assessment that, "the run-off was conducted in a democratic climate''.

The council also reminded the leaders that they bore the primary responsibility for ensuring a peaceful process and called on them to ``exercise restraint, refrain from any interference in the work of the IEC''.

It also urged them to honour their commitments to ``respect the results, address their complaints through the legal procedures and resolve their differences peacefully''.

The council members further urged the supporters of the candidates to ``refrain from any provocation or recourse to violence throughout the electoral process''.

On Thursday, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned all sides not to interfere with the work of the IEC, and requested them to demonstrate responsibility and to refrain from any initiative until the announcement of the provisional results.

His call followed media reports that a supporter of Gbagbo had torn the result sheets and that journalists were barred from entering the IEC.

Cote d'Ivoire, which is the world’s largest cocoa exporter, was split by civil war in 2002 into a government-controlled south and a rebel-held north.

The UN mission in Cote d'Ivoire, known as UNOCI, has a 9,000-strong military personnel and has been supporting reunification efforts in the country.
-0- PANA AA/VAO 3Dec2010

03 december 2010 15:58:38

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