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30 July 2009 - Security Council: Côte d’Ivoire - Statement by Mr. Jean-Maurice Ripert, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations

(translation of statement made in French)

The French delegation had the honour and the responsibility of preparing the text of the resolution that has just been adopted by the Security Council. Over time, the Security Council has developed a largely unified view on resolving the conflict in Côte d’Ivoire, as my delegation noted here last week (see S/PV.6168) after the introduction of the report of the Secretary-General (S/2009/344). I am pleased to note that that unified view was formally reaffirmed today by the unanimous adoption of resolution 1880 (2009).

The Security Council is united in extending the mandate of the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) for six months, encouraging the force to do its utmost to support the organizing of a free, fair, open and transparent presidential election on the planned date, which is now its priority. Our Council is also united in reaffirming the certification role of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, who should confirm each stage of the electoral process. Finally, above all, the Security Council is united in demanding that the Ivorian parties this time honour their commitments, and that the first round of the presidential elections indeed be held on 29 November, as they themselves decided last May.

I would like to develop that last element, which seems to us essential. In sending that message to the Ivorian parties, the Security Council by no means underestimates the difficulties inherent to the preparation of good elections, but it notes that it is up to the Ivorian parties and the main candidates themselves to find and to show the political will to remove the various obstacles. The presidential and legislative elections have indeed been postponed for too long. With delay after delay — from January to November 2008, then from November 2008 to November 2009 — the prospect for the elections has only become more distant.

The Security Council, in particular France from among the Council members, which deploys troops on the ground in support of the United Nations and has provided significant direct and indirect aid to Côte d’Ivoire, has been quiet for too long. Those delays have consequences. They unjustly punish the Ivorian population by delaying an end to the crisis and by prolonging a state of instability that is dangerous to Côte d’Ivoire and the subregion. They also have a cause — the lack or insufficiency of political will — and are, unfortunately, once again sending us a warning signal. Contradictory signals, rumours and signs of tension are mounting.

France is convinced that, if they find the necessary political will, the Ivorian actors still have the ability to keep their commitments, with the support of the international community. In any case, they must know that they are held to their word by the Security Council and will be judged on their acts. In that spirit, in the coming weeks, the Council will closely follow, in particular, the publication of the provisional electoral list and the final electoral list and the support of the Facilitator and the representative of the Secretary-General.

The Council will not let itself be tricked by technical ploys. If the 29 November elections are to be delayed, the parties responsible will be clearly identified, and the Security Council will draw the necessary conclusions.

Lastly, I would like to pay tribute to the Facilitator, President Blaise Compaoré, for his determined action in favour of peace.

The Ouagadougou process has enabled Côte d’Ivoire to make significant progress. I should like to refer to two examples that are of particular importance. The first was the smooth dismantling of the zone of confidence, which had cut the country in two. The absence of armed incidents since the closing of the last UNOCI observation post, on 30 July 2008, attests to the ability of former enemies to live together. The second was the completion of the process to register more than 6.5 million voters, on 30 June. That constitutes a republican response to one of the root causes of the conflict in Côte d’Ivoire that has lasted since 2002.

That progress is a cause for hope. However, it will be meaningless if Ivorian political actors once again squander an opportunity to emerge from the crisis. The Security Council will consider this issue on a regular basis. We have specifically asked the Secretary-General to inform us in early September on the publication of the provisional electoral list. The Ivorian people deserve for 29 November 2009 to be honoured. They can count on the Security Council, as well as on France, to demonstrate great support and vigilance.

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