Cote d'Ivoire requests more UN peacekeepers ahead of presidential elections

15:49, January 13, 2010      

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Cote d'Ivoire has requested the United Nations to increase its presence in the country by an additional unit of up to 500 peacekeepers from Burkina Faso to reinforce security ahead of the country's presidential elections, the world body said Tuesday.

The elections, originally scheduled for as far back as 2005 and continually postponed since then, most recently from Nov. 29, are now expected to take place in March.

The request was made by the presidents of Cote d'Ivoire and Bukina Faso in a letter delivered to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, UN spokesman Martin Nesirky told UN reporters.

The presidents said that the deployment, "for a limited period of three months," will aim at reinforcing the "general security arrangements for the Ivorian presidential elections that are expected to be held by March 2010."

The UN chief has forwarded the request from President Laurent Gbagbo of Cote d'Ivoire and President Blaise Compaore of Burkina Faso to the Security Council.

"The deployment of a unit from Burkina Faso would further strengthen the confidence of all Ivorian parties in the security arrangements for the elections," Ban told the Security Council.

The deployment of the proposed unit requires the authorization of the Security Council for a temporary increase in the authorized UNOCI force, which currently numbers 7,450.

In the coming days, the Secretariat will prepare the financial implications of this temporary increase in the total authorized troop strength, Ban said.

"It is also important to ensure that the deployment takes place

by mid-February 2010, bearing in mind the time frame for the elections," Ban added.

Last month the council called for credible presidential elections to be held at the earliest date possible following the latest postponement. UNOCI has been stationed in Cote d'Ivoire since 2004 to help ensure a cease-fire and pave the way for permanent peace and democratic elections.

Source: Xinhua
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