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Form all-inclusive govt., UN tells Ouattara

United Nations – The UN Security Council on Wednesday urged President Alassane Ouattara of Côte d’Ivoire to form an all-inclusive, broad-based Government.

Ouattara assumed full control of government on Monday following the arrest of his predecessor Laurent Gbagbo.

The former president, who refused to yield power after his electoral defeat, by Ouattara, was smoked out from a bunker underneath the presidential palace by forces loyal to his rival backed by French forces and UN troops in the country.

A statement from the 15-member Council urged all Ivorians to abstain from any reprisals, revenge or provocation.

The statement read to reporters in New York by Amb. Néstor Osorio of Colombia, which holds the Council’s rotating monthly presidency, also urged Ivorians to exercise maximum restraint and work together to promote national reconciliation.

The refusal by former president Gbagbo to stand down after he lost the UN-certified run-off poll in November plunged the country into four months of violence.

The Council welcomed Ouattara’s commitment to investigate alleged human rights abuses and reaffirmed that those responsible for the violations must he held accountable for their crimes regardless of their political affiliations.

It commended the President’s call for justice and reconciliation, as well as his decision to establish a Truth and Reconciliation Committee.

The 15-member body also encouraged the Government to cooperate closely with the Independent Commission of Inquiry set up by the UN Human Rights Council.

It urged the authorities to ensure Gbagbo’s security and accord him and his entourage fair and just treatment.

It voiced concern over reports of widespread violence and intimidation in the commercial capital, Abidjan, and urged all illegal armed combatants to lay down their arms immediately and hand them over to the relevant authorities.

In their briefings to the Council, three senior UN officials said the situation in Côte d’Ivoire remained grave despite Gbagbo’s surrender.

Y. J. Choi, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Côte d’Ivoire and head of UNOCI, told delegates that the mission’s immediate priority was to prevent a security vacuum and disarm surrendering soldiers and militiamen.

He said UNOCI was working hard to secure vital installations, including air and sea ports, protect civilians, prevent reprisal attacks and gather evidence on human rights abuses.

“The Ivorian people organised one of the most impressive elections; they succeeded
largely by themselves in resolving the post-election crisis which allowed for the will of the people to prevail,” Choi said via video-link from Abidjan.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay called for “immediate and decisive action” to address the humanitarian crisis in the country.

“Reconciliation will not be accomplished without meaningful accountability, which has been lacking in Côte d’Ivoire over the past decade,” she said.

Pillay said to achieve peace and reconciliation, the cycle of impunity must be stopped, perpetrators must be brought to justice, and victims must be rehabilitated in their rights and dignity.

Valerie Amos, the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, stressed the need to boost the delivery of food aid and to provide shelter and medical assistance to the sick and wounded.

She said that an estimated 300 million dollars was required to respond to the humanitarian crisis inside Côte d’Ivoire and in neighbouring countries where Ivorians have sought refuge.

She said some 57 million dollars of the required funding has been received.

Amos told reporters after her briefing that an estimated 800,000 people remain displaced and that the security situation throughout the country remained volatile.

The Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs said more than 130,000 Ivorian refugees had also sought safety in Liberia. (NAN)


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