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Cooperation vital in run-up to Ivorian presidential polls - Security Council

13 October 2009 – The Security Council today called on all parties in Côte d’Ivoire to join forces to complete the remaining tasks – including the publication of the final voter list – ahead of the much-delayed presidential elections, scheduled to be held late next month.

The Council, welcoming the completion of the identification and registration of over 6.5 million Ivorians, urged the sides to “resolve differences in the spirit of reconciliation and dialogue,” according to a press statement read out following a closed meeting by Le Luong Minh, Permanent Representative of Viet Nam, which holds the rotating monthly presidency.

The long-awaited polls, which were to have been held as far back as 2005, are now scheduled for 29 November.

The 15-member body again stressed its support for the Ouagadougou Agreement, the 2007 blueprint for political reconciliation in the West African country which has been divided since 2002 between the Government-held south and a northern area dominated by the rebel Forces Nouvelles.

Viet Nam’s Ambassador said that the Council agreed that “the long-term peace, stability and development of Côte d’Ivoire was also dependent on the balanced and comprehensive settlement of many other security, socio-economic and cross-border challenges.”

Unlike other peacekeeping operations around the world, including those in Liberia and Sierra Leone, the UN Mission in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) does not plan elections, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Special Representative Young-Jin Choi told reporters after briefing the Council.

“So it’s not up to us to predict whether the elections will beheld on [29 November] or not,” he said in response to a journalist’s question.

In his latest report on UNOCI, the Secretary-General said the remaining weeks until the much-anticipated polls are fraught with major obstacles, including disarmament of militias and reintegration of former rebels.

These “uncompleted tasks” could “create serious risks for the elections if they are not carefully managed, and, beyond the elections, adversely affect the prevailing stability,” he wrote.

National institutions must wrap up the elections process in earnest, it added, and organize transparent polls, which will require the preparation of a final electoral list.

That list’s publication and the resolving of any disputes resulting from it will be a “critical test” of the overall identification and voter registration process,” the Secretary-General said.

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