Ivory Coast: November 11, 2003

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West African leaders called on the UN to convert the regional ECOWAS peacekeeping mission operating in the Ivory Coast into a full-fledged UN peacekeeping force. Niger and Togo agreed to contribute 70 troops, to safeguard rebels officials in the power-sharing government.

ECOWAS currently has 1,500 troops on the ground and France 4,000 troops stationed in its former colony. Secretary General Kofi Annan warned in a report that the Ivorian peace process was in "serious difficulty". An ECOWAS representative said that a UN force would be better suited to ensure peace in Ivory Coast, but gave no further explanation. However, a UN force would probably mean European troop representation and more importantly, more money for the ECOWAS troops. 

The Secretary-General also recommended a six-month extension of the tiny UN mission's mandate there, in the hope that governmental authority can be restored throughout the country. MINUCI (the UN Mission in Cte d'Ivoire) currently has 34 UN military liaison officers in-country monitoring security and helping build confidence, although Annan has approved the deployment of the remaining 42 officers. Annan has also proposed a $29.9 million budget for the mission, from May 13, 2003 to June 30, 2004. - Adam Geibel

 

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