CÔTE D'IVOIRE / SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE WELCOMES COMMITMENT TO POLITICAL DIALOGUE AFTER BASSAM CONCLAVE
6/8/2012 2:30:00 PM -
ABIDJAN, Côte d'Ivoire, June 8, 2012/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- Summary of UNOCI weekly press conference
The Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Côte d'Ivoire, Bert Koenders, has welcomed the encouraging signs of continued political dialogue as agreed at a conclave in Grand Bassam (50 km from Abidjan) held in May 2012 between the Government and opposition parties. He was especially encouraged by the announcement of a meeting scheduled to be held in mid-July between the Prime Minister and the opposition party, the Front populaire ivoirien (FPI), the acting spokesperson of the United Nations Operation in Côte d'Ivoire (UNOCI) during the Mission's weekly press conference.
While awaiting this important meeting, the Special Representative is launching an appeal to all parties to contribute to maintaining the spirit of constructive dialogue and avoid making speeches that could adversely affect this reconciliation process, added the acting spokesperson, Sylvie van den Wildenberg
The acting spokesperson was outlining the activities of Bert Koenders, with special emphasis on his consultations with political parties. In this regard, she highlighted the meetings that the Special Representative had held since last week, in the wake of the Bassam conclave, with the aim of encouraging progress in the national reconciliation process, a precondition for sustainable development for a prosperous Côte d'Ivoire and sub-region.
Expanding on the subject of the important meetings held by the Special Representative during the past week, Mrs van den Wildenberg highlighted his encounter on 31 May 2012 with the Ivorian Prime Minister, Mr. Jeannot Ahoussou, who was accompanied by members of the Government in charge of security and the legal system. 'The meeting was to discuss the recent prison escapes in Côte d'Ivoire, and the larger issue of security at detention centres throughout the country,' said the acting spokesperson. In this context, she said, the Special Representative had reiterated UNOCI's assistance to the Government in the prison sector, and the Mission's intention to increase its support in the management of urgent cases regarding the protection of the exterior of certain prisons, along with the Ivorian security forces.
'Certain concrete measures have already been taken, she said, including the deployment and strengthening of Ivorian forces, patrols by UN Police and the Formed Police Unit to increase security around the main prisons in Abidjan and Daloa (centre west)'.
Mrs van den Wildenberg also mentioned Mr. Koenders' meeting with the Ivorian Minister delegated to the Ministry of Defence, Paul Koffi Koffi, on 6 June 2012. The Special Representative was accompanied by the Mission's Force Commander, General Muhammad Iqbal Asi. 'The meeting, which was part of the Mission's regular consultations with the Minister of Defence, was on one hand to discuss Security Sector Reform (SSR), Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration (DDR) for ex-combatants, and on the other, the security situation in the country, particularly in the west and along the border with Liberia,' she explained. According to the acting spokesperson, the Chief of UNOCI welcomed the fact that all the concerned parties were eager to see progress in all these areas. Regarding the situation in the west, the three men discussed how best to reinforce the number of elements providing security and protection of civilians in this border area, which is very porous due to its complex geography and dense forests. In this regard, she said, Mr. Koenders had briefed the Minister on measures taken by the Mission to strengthen its presence in Tai, which he had visited last week and where the Mission was in the process of adding civilian personnel to the existing police and military presence in an effort to strengthen its capacity to assess risks and protect the population in this zone, in close consultation with the local communities. The aim also being to develop early warning and monitoring mechanisms and strengthening information gathering, squashing rumours and promoting community reconciliation.
Mrs van den Wildenberg concluded by highlighting UNOCI's sensitisation activities to promote social cohesion and national reconciliation throughout the country. She announced that the 24th edition of United Nations Days will be held from 13 to 15 June 2012. 'The holding of UN Days in Dabou will provide an opportunity for all sections of the population to discuss and establish mechanisms to strengthen social cohesion and consolidate national reconciliation,' she explained.