UN to send additional peacekeepers to Cote d'Ivoire

New York- US (PANA) -- The United Nations is to send 500 peacekeepers from Burkin a Faso to Cote d'Ivoire ahead of the March elections in the country, according t o a UN statement, made available to PANA in New York on Wednesday.
It said that additional peacekeepers followed a request by the presidents of Cأ´ te d'Ivoire and Burkina Faso.
"Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has forwarded the request from President Laurent Gbagbo of Cأ´te d'Ivoire and President Blaise Compaorأ© of Burkina Faso to the U N Security Council for consideration," it stated.
"The Security Council is now expected to authorise the three-month increase in t he strength of the UN Operation in Cote d'Ivoire (UNOCI) past its current level o f 7,450," the statement noted.
PANA reports that the elections, originally scheduled for 2005, have suffered a series of postponements, the most recent being the one shifted from 29 November t o March 2010.
In a letter forwarding the request to the UN Security Council, scheduled to meet on Wednesday, Ban said the deployment of the Burkinabes would further strengthe n the confidence of all Ivorian parties in the security arrangements for the poll s .
He noted the delay already encountered by the Ivorian Integrated Command Centre in setting up mixed units of 8,000 troops responsible for election security.
"So far, less than half of these troops have been sourced.
"In this context, we expect UN Operation in Cote d'Ivoire (UNOCI) and Licorne, w hich have been mandated to provide support to the Integrated Command Centre and o ther Ivorian institutions responsible for securing the peace process, to be requ e sted to play a broader role in election security than previously envisaged," Ban wrote.
According to the secretary-general, the UN Secretariat will prepare the financia l implications of the temporary increase in the coming days.
He added it was also important to ensure that the deployment took place by mid-F ebruary, bearing in mind the time-frame for the elections.
In December, the UN Security Council had called for credible presidential electi on to be held at the earliest date possible following the latest postponement.
UNOCI has been stationed in Cote d'Ivoire since 2004 to ensure a ceasefire and p ave the way for permanent peace and democratic elections.

13 january 2010 16:07:00

xhtml CSS