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Cte d'Ivoire: UN pursues multi-pronged strategy for peaceful elections

1 April 2010 – From high-level political meetings to workshops and sporting events, the United Nations mission in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) is deploying a multifaceted strategy to create a peaceful environment for the repeatedly delayed elections that are intended to reunify the divided country.

UNOCI is “following very closely” consultations between Côte d’Ivoire’s President, Laurent Gbagbo, and President Blaise Compaoré of Burkina Faso, the African mediator in the crisis that began in 2002 when civil war divided the country into a rebel-held north and Government-controlled south, mission spokesman Hamadoun Touré said today.

Originally scheduled as far back as 2005, the elections have been repeatedly delayed, most recently from November to last month, but a new crisis erupted in February when Mr. Gbagbo dissolved the Government and the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC). Since then Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Special Representative, Y. J. Choi, has been holding intensive talks with all concerned, including the IEC’s newly appointed president Issouf Bakayoko.

At today’s weekly news briefing, Mr. Touré reaffirmed UNOCI’s readiness to help the new IEC executive facilitate the resumption of appeals regarding registration on the electoral list, assuring Mr. Bakayoko that the mission will make its human, material and logistical resources available.

The latest impasse began in January after the production of a second electoral list, with some 5.3 million confirmed people and around 1 million people still needing to be confirmed.

Continuing his efforts to establish a peaceful electoral environment, Mr. Choi today met with leaders of various youth organizations.

Other mission initiatives listed by Mr. Touré include a workshop yesterday in Abidjan, the country’s largest city and commercial centre, attended by 60 artists, focusing on their commitment and contribution to a peaceful environment, and a seminar in Adzope on civil society’s commitment to promote a peaceful environment, attended by 40 representatives of various organizations, institutions and traditional chiefs from seven localities in Agnéby Region.

In Daloa, 20 directors of private non-profit radio stations took part this week in a training workshop aimed at improving their processing of information and suitably informing voters.

Finally, in Séguéla, a mini-marathon and a football tournament are to be used to promote peace.

“All these initiatives have the same objective, revolving around three major principles: maintaining peace and security, preserving the achievements made so far including the provisional electoral list, and producing the definitive electoral list as soon as possible,” UNOCI said in a news release.

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