Ivory Coast Conflict
After many attempts at peace the two factions in Côte d’Ivoire came to an agreement on 4 March 2007. President Gbagbo and NF rebel leader Guillaume Soro signed the Ouagadougou Political Agreement (OPA), which established a transitional government with Soro as Prime Minister. The OPA also called for the disarmament of armed factions, reunification of the country, identification of Ivorians, and 2008 presidential elections. By the end of 2007, progress had been made on some provisions of the OPA: nearly 70 percent of the civil administration returned to the north, the "audiences foraines" process was underway to issue birth certificates to those who were never registered, and the "zone of confidence" (ZOC) was dismantled.
On March 4, 2007, after weeks of closed-door negotiations led by Burkinabe President Compaore in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, President Gbagbo and New Forces leader Guillaume Soro announced they had agreed to a peace agreement aimed at reunifying the country and holding new elections. The Ouagadougou Agreement foresaw a new transitional government and the re-launch of the stalled voter registration and identification process to enable elections to be held within 10 months. It also called for the near-immediate elimination of the Zone of Confidence; the disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration of former combatants; and for rebel and government forces to form a joint integrated Command Center that would implement the measures for the restructuring of the Defense and Security Forces.
At the end of March, Soro was named Prime Minister, and several days later, a new cabinet--consisting of most of the ministers from the previous cabinet--was named. Subsequently, UNOCI withdrew from within the Zone of Confidence, although it was still positioned on both sides, and six mixed brigades of New Forces, national Gendarmerie soldiers, and impartial forces were established.
On 9 April 2007, Côte d’Ivoire Prime Minister Guillaume Soro, leader of the New Forces rebel group, formed a government comprised of 11 ministers from President Laurent Gbagbo's Ivorian Popular Front and 7 from the New Forces. Five posts each went to the 2 leading opposition parties, the Rally of Republicans of former prime minister Alassane Ouattara and the Democratic Party of Côte d’Ivoire of former president Henri Konan Bedie.
On 12 April 2007, the dismantling of the demilitarized zone, the "Zone of Confidence," that separated the north and the south began. The UN troops would be removed gradually, while simultaneously being replaced by a mix of rebel and government forces.
On 21 May 2007, the pro-government militia in Cote d’Ivoire's western region handed over a handful of guns and ammunition, which were burned together with some militia uniforms. This was seen as a symbolic move toward the reunification of the country.
On June 29, 2007, an attack against Prime Minister Soro’s aircraft occurred at the Bouake Airport, killing several persons in his entourage, but he escaped unharmed. Government ministries (particularly Health, Education, Finance, and Interior) and officials returned to their posts in the northern part of the country and the disarmament, demobilizaton, and reintegration (DDR) of former combatants began on a limited scale.
On 16 November 2007, Côte d’Ivoire officials announced the adoption of a code of good conduct, which promoted the notion of free and transparent elections. The UN praised this as a step toward the implementation of the Ouagadougou Political Agreement.
The Zone of Confidence was dismantled in September 2007, but both the mixed brigades and impartial forces continued to carry out patrols throughout the ex-Zone of Confidence.
On 29 November 2007, the government and rebels in Côte d’Ivoire agreed to begin disarming their troops by 22 December 2007, before they would become integrated into a new national army. Even though a majority of the rebel leaders were willing to give up their control over administrative and financial affairs in their region, there were some rebels who had created physical roadblocks that stopped people and demanded bribes, stole, raped, and/or killed those who resisted. These bandits were seen as the remnants of ex-rebel forces that had no other way to live due to the hard economic downturn that had plagued the north during the war.
On 10 December 2007, the head of the ex-rebel group 'Forces Nouvelles' in northwestern Côte d’Ivoire banned driving after 6 in the evening as a measure "to fully ensure" people's security in the region, where often-deadly road attacks had become an almost daily occurrence.
On 8 February 2008, the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Côte d’Ivoire began to dismantle its observation posts in the former Zone of Confidence in the West African nation, divided between the Government-controlled south and the rebel Forces Nouvelles-held north.
On 18 June 2008, ex-rebel forces in Bouake broke out into the streets and protested that they had not yet received the funds promised to them for disarming. UN officials wondered whether or not that incident would affect the peace process. The forces stated that they had no intention to disrupt the peace process, but that they had wanted the reimbursement that had been delayed for 2 months.
On 14 July 2008, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon released a report that stated that elections in Côte d’Ivoire were to take place on 30 November 2008. He urged the international community to assist in the elections in order to provide fair and transparent election results.
On 30 July 2008, the UN peacekeeping mission dismantled its last outpost along the Zone of Confidence. This day also marked the closure of the Zone of Confidence. It was seen as a symbolic move toward reunification.
On 7 November 2008, Côte d’Ivoire officials announced that the elections that were to be held on 30 November 2008 were going to be once more postponed. The UN peacekeeping mission began to increase its efforts and implemented Operation Transport, which tried to help the government officials register people to vote in which they provided taxis and other transportation to ease the workload of the officials.
The identification and voter registration process, which began in September 2008 and was initially scheduled to last 45 days, ended on 30 June 2009. More than 6.5 million persons participated in the process. With data collected during this process, the CEI prepared a provisional electoral list and posted it for nationwide consultation on 22 November 2009. The following day, local CEIs began processing challenges to this list.
After a meeting held between 3 and 4 December 2009, the permanent consultation framework (CPC) for the OPA formally announced the postponement of presidential elections, which had been scheduled for 29 November 2009. The CPC stated that additional time was necessary to correct irregularities in the provisional electoral list and distribute identification and voter cards. A new election date was not announced, and those who participated in the identification and voter registration process were awaiting the distribution of their identity cards and voter cards at year's end.
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