“THE SITUATION IN CÔTE D'IVOIRE" - PUBLIC MEETING
In my national capacity, I also wish to thank Mr. Alan Doss for introducing the report of the Secretary-General and to convey my delegation’s appreciation for Deputy Foreign Minister Aziz Pahad and Advocate Mojanku Gumbi for sharing with us their assessment of the situation in Côte d’Ivoire, and also for their work on behalf of the African Union, to move the peace process forward.
Many relevant points have been already raised by my colleagues. The delegation of Brazil shares their concerns over persisting violations of human rights, the prevailing climate of impunity and the absence of rule of law in many parts of the country. I shall concentrate my comments on two points – security and the electoral process.
Regarding security, the most worrisome aspect of the current situation in Côte d’Ivoire seems to be the proliferation of militias. New armed groups appear to be constantly mushrooming in Côte d’Ivoire and the situation cannot be dealt with from a political perspective alone.
The traffic of small arms has to be curtailed and options must be made available offered to the unemployed youth of Côte d’Ivoire: development agencies and partners should redouble their efforts in designing quick-impact economic projects in the communities, with a view to generating occupancy and income. There cannot be peace without development.
Also related to security is the capacity to convey the right messages to the population in an effective manner. In that regard, we commend the work carried out by the public information section of UNOCI, and in particular UNOCI FM for the expansion of its outreach and for its increased monitoring of messages aired by local media. The report of the Secretary-General also refers to initiatives by Ivorian radio and tv authorities which could compromise UNOCI’s radio broadcasting. The station’s role and independence must be preserved.
Furthermore, it is for us a matter of great concern that, following the positive impact of Resolution 1572, the use of virulent language has recurred recently, as stated in paragraph 52 of the report. The Council should be able to assist UNOCI in minimizing all security risks in the country. [Along the lines of what has been expressed by the Chairman of the 1572 Committee, Ambassador Vassilakis,] That includes making good use of measures against those individuals preventing the peace process to move forward. And that includes also that the Council give favourable consideration to the Secretary-General’s request for strengthening UNOCI’s capacity to deal with insecurity and to fully enforce the arms embargo.
On the electoral process, it is crucial that all Ivorian parties perceive that without free and fair elections, peace will remain elusive. Perhaps not all groups and factions actually want peace. But it is the firm belief of our delegation that the overwhelming majority of Ivorians do. And those elections may only be held if there is sufficient security on the ground and if certain preconditions are met, as the adoption of relevant legislation, in conformity with the spirit of Linas-Marcoussis.
The continuing impasse between the major actors in Côte d’Ivoire jeopardizes even the October elections and, by way of consequence, the stability of the entire region. West Africa cannot afford to find itself mired again in instability and conflict and therefore Brazil urges the Government and the rebel forces to reach a common vision of the future and participate in good faith in the plans of action laid out by President Mbeki and his team for sustainable peace in Côte d’Ivoire. We urge them to seize the opportunity offered by the upcoming mini-summit in Pretoria and to work constructively with the mediation team.
In closing, I would like to express Brazil’s appreciation to the African Union, in particular to Presidents Obasanjo and Mbeki for their tireless efforts in Côte d’Ivoire and to ECOWAS for its many initiatives in preserving stability in the region. We have since long discussed – at the Security Council as well as in the General Assembly – the framework for cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations – we see it in the making in West Africa and it is a very positive lesson we will build upon. The delegation of Brazil wishes the mediators every success and welcome any follow-up information they may share with us in the future.