UNCI receives helicopters

Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire (PANA) – The spokesperson for the UN operations in Côte d’Ivoire (UNCI), Hamadou Touré, on Thursday announced that helicopters have been made available to the mission to enable it to improve security in the troubled West African country.

“The equipment will develop our capacity in the missions assigned to us," he said at his weekly press conference in Abidjan.

These missions include the protection of civilians, the protection of the Gulf Hotel where Alassane Ouattara, the internationally-recognised winner of the Ivorian presidential election is holed up, as well as the safeguarding of the results of the 28 November, 2010 presidential election.

He also alluded to the availability of 500 UN peacekeepers from the UN Mission in Liberia for an extended period.

“Their mandate was set at several weeks. Now, that mandate has been increased to three months. This means that those 500 peacekeepers remain available for UNCI over a longer period.”

In another development, Mr Touré said 2,000 additional UN soldiers would arrive to strengthen the presence of the mission on the ground.

“The 2,000 soldiers are preparing to come. We have no date for the time being; we are in negotiation with countries. I have announced to you three countries including two from West Africa who are prepared to send troops. But negotiations are far advanced,” the UNCI spokesperson said.

The international community recognises Ouattara as the president-elect and diplomatic and economic pressures have been stepped up against incumbent president Laurent Gbagbo to force him to step down.
-0- PANA GB/TBM/MSA/MA 17Feb2011

17 february 2011 22:24:53




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