The UN Security Council has renewed the mandate of the UN peacekeeping mission in Côte d’Ivoire for a final period, extending it until June 30, 2017.
Unanimously adopting resolution 2284 (2016) on Thursday in New York, members said the mission would be mandated to support efforts by the Ivorian security forces to protect civilians and by the Government of Côte d’Ivoire to consolidate peace and stability in the country while addressing border security challenges.
The Council also endorsed the Secretary-General’s withdrawal plan for the UN Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI), taking into account the security conditions on the ground following the successful conclusion of the presidential election held on Oct. 25, 2015.
In a separate action, the 15-member Council unanimously adopted resolution 2283 (2016), deciding to terminate all arms, travel and financial sanctions against Côte d’Ivoire with immediate effect.
It also decided to dissolve the committee established by resolution 1572 (2004) to oversee those measures, and the Group of Experts established pursuant to resolution 1584 (2005) to assist that body.
Concerning UNOCI’s mandate, the Council authorised the mission to use all necessary means in carrying out its mandate.
Members also requested that the Secretary-General complete the withdrawal of all its uniformed and civilian components by April 30.
Regarding force structure, members decided to decrease UNOCI’s military and police units, with a view to completing their withdrawal.
The Council also decided to extend until June 30, 2017, the authorisation of the French forces to support UNOCI within the limits of their deployment and capabilities.
In the area of regional and inter-mission cooperation, the Council welcomed the resumption of regular meetings between the Governments of Côte d’Ivoire and Liberia.
Council authorised the Secretary-General to deploy the quick-reaction force unit to Liberia in case of any deterioration of security on the ground.
Speaking after the two adoptions, Amb, Claude Bouah-Kamon of Côte d’Ivoire, said the resolutions were a testament to the Ivorian Government’s myriad efforts since the crisis in 2011 and to the effective and unwavering support provided by the international community.
With the lifting of the sanctions, he said, the Government could turn its attention to modernizing national security structure.
He added that Côte d’Ivoire was aware of residual challenges, but would shoulder all its responsibilities.
Bouah-Kamon, emphasised that Cote d’Voire would continue its exemplary cooperation with UNOCI and ensure that the mission would go down in peacekeeping history as a success story to be replicated elsewhere.
Amb. François Delattre of France said it was rare for the Council to see a return to peace and to feel that its goals had been attained, but that was the case today, with two resolutions reflecting the amazing path taken by Côte d’Ivoire.
The country, he added, had shown its desire to fully own its future and shore up peace, security and lasting reconciliation.
Delattre said in a world of multiplying crises, Côte d’Ivoire had demonstrated that security endeavours could achieve their ends, he said, paying tribute to troop-contributing countries as well as UNOCI staff for their praiseworthy work.
Echoing that sentiment, Amb. Fodé Seck of Senegal said the peacekeeping operation and the targeted use of sanctions had contributed to the strengthening of peace and security in Côte d’Ivoire.
Seck said the Government deserved the support of all for its unfailing commitment. Nevertheless, much more remained to be done in order to build on the current momentum, particularly in the area of economic and social development.
In a similar action on April 29, 2014 the Council lifted a ban on importing rough diamonds from Côte d’Ivoire and to partially lift the arms embargo, differentiating between lethal and non-lethal arms.
Council had then extended the sanctions first put in place in 2004 against “the direct or indirect supply, sale or transfer to the West African nation, from their territories or by their nationals, or using their flag vessels or aircraft, of arms and any related material.”
The Council also decided to exempt from the embargo supplies to the UNDCI and the French forces who support them.
The decision, members said was made “in light of progress made towards the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) implementation and better governance of the sector. (NAN)