Posted in News by Admin on October 29th, 2009
Côte d’Ivoire has essentially been divided for more than seven years between the government-controlled south and the rebel Forces Nouvelles-held north, but now both sides are violating the arms embargo imposed upon the country, according to a new United Nations (UN) report. Diamond exports from Cote d’Ivoire were banned for funding conflict years ago and the UN is set to revisit the embargo, although its reconsideration of the ban was originally slated to occur only after a free and fair presidential election had been held in the country in November.
A report presented to the UN Security Council yesterday cited an absence of effective border controls, which have allowed rough diamond trading from Côte d’Ivoire to penetrate Burkina Faso and Mali. Another concern is that rough diamonds may be illegally exported through Guinea and Liberia. Furthermore, the government has not introduced the necessary regulatory measures to prevent the import or export of items prohibited by the sanctions regime, according to the report.
Politically, the government faces potentially violent opposition in the country’s south, which has prompted it to begin re-supplying some of its security forces with riot-control equipment and could prompt efforts to import arms and related material in the near future. The report identified seven separate cases in which the government and the Forces Nouvelles acquired arms in breach of sanctions. There was particular concern regarding the ”systematic transfer of weapons” and ammunition from neighboring Burkina Faso to the Forces Nouvelles, which may be linked to cocoa smuggling. Largely independent military “zone commanders” from the Force Nouvelles control and exploit natural resources, providing both the motive and the means to sustain territorial control in northern Côte d’Ivoire, the report stated.
The UN was instrumental in preparing the country for its long-awaited presidential election, which, in the wake of numrous delays, is currently scheduled for November 29. However, there is some evidence to suggest that the election date could be pushed back again due to logistical delays with the voting equipment. More than 6.5 million citizens have been registered for the polls and the UN Operation in Côte d’Ivoire is providing logistical support for the elections.Twenty candidates have applied for the presidential role through the Independent Electoral Commission.
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