Mandate of UN peacekeepers in Côte dIvoire extended another month

Welcoming the progress made by the leaders of Côte d’Ivoire in meeting the terms of the South African-brokered peace agreement, the latest in a series of accords, the United Nations Security Council today extended the mandate of the UN peacekeeping mission there for another month, as it did in April.It decided unanimously that “the mandate of the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) and of the French forces which support it shall be extended for a period of one month until 4 June 2005.”The resolution called on all Ivorian parties to ensure that the elections scheduled for later this year will be free, fair and transparent and welcomed President Laurent Gbagbo’s announcement, in accordance with a letter sent by South African President Thabo Mbeki, that all candidates nominated by the party signatories to the 2003 Linas-Marcoussis peace agreement would be eligible as presidential candidates.The Council thanked UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) for their peacemaking efforts and especially Mr. Mbeki for his role as mediator on behalf of the African Union (AU).Meanwhile, UNOCI reported humanitarian agencies as now saying that thousands of people were displaced by the recent ethnic clashes in Duékoué.After conducting a joint assessment mission to Duékoué, humanitarian agencies underscored the importance of UNOCI providing adequate protection to the sites where displaced people are camping, by strengthening UN patrols and positioning men in the vicinity of these sites and host families. read more