Security Council extends mandate of UN mission in Côte dIvoire

The Security Council today extended the mandate of the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Côte d’Ivoire and boosted its troop strength by less than half of what the head of mission requested. It also authorized Secretary-General Kofi Annan to initiate plans to redeploy troops, if necessary, from UN missions in nearby Liberia and Sierra Leone to help quell the simmering tensions in the divided country.Expressing “serious concern” at the continued deterioration and humanitarian situation, particularly after the “dramatic” events that recently occurred in the west of the country, the extended the mandate of the UN Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) and of the French forces which support it for a period of 7 months, until 24 January 2006.Earlier this month, the Council strongly condemned the massacres of civilians in the western town of Duékoué, and urged Ivorian authorities to conduct an inquiry into the killings immediately so the perpetrators can be brought to justice and condemned.In the measure adopted today, the Council authorized, for this next period, which will cover the country’s upcoming October elections, an increase in UNOCI’s military component of up to 850 additional personnel, as well as an increase in the civilian police component of up to a ceiling of 725 civilian police personnel, and the necessary additional civilian personnel.Yesterday, UNOCI chief Pierre Schori told reporters after briefing the Council that he had called for more than 2,000 troops to be sent to the West African nation. He said he desperately needed the reinforcements at a time when implementation of a peace agreement had stalled and to be able to prevent and deter further violence.Additionally, the Council authorized the Secretary-General to seek the agreement of the countries contributing military and civilian police personnel to the UN Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL), the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) and the UNOCI, to redeploy such personnel as may be needed on a temporary basis to reinforce another of the above three missions, as appropriate, taking account of the need to ensure effective performance of the current mandates of those missions. The Council plans to review the troop level of UNOCI by 31 December 2005, including the civilian police component, in the light of the situation in Côte d’Ivoire after the forthcoming general elections and on the basis of the tasks remaining to be carried out, with a view to further reduction as appropriate. read more