UN Security Council extends peacekeeping force mandate in Cote d'Ivoire

17:11, December 21, 2010      

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UN peacekeepers patrol near the UNOCI headquarters in Abidjan on December 20, 2010. (Xinhua/AFP)

The UN Security Council on Monday unanimously adopted a resolution renewing the mandate of the UN Operation in Cote d'Ivoire (UNOCI) for six months, amid increasing political instability within the West African country.

Cote d'Ivoire is undergoing a political crisis, as two different candidates, Alassane Ouattara and Laurent Gbagbo, were both sworn in as president after the Nov. 28 presidential runoff election.

Both Gbagbo and Ouattara claim to have won the elections and have set up parallel governments in the city of Abidjan, resulting in escalating tensions and violence.

The Security Council has called on Gbagbo to step down, urging all Ivorian parties and stakeholders to respect the will of the people and the outcome of the election in view of other international bodies recognizing Ouattara as the legitimately elected president "and representative of the freely expressed voice of the Ivorian people."

UNOCI has reported attacks on UN patrols and on UNOCI headquarters, perpetrated by members of the Ivorian security forces who are allegedly loyal to Gbagbo.

The 15-member Council voted to extend the mission's mandate until June 30, 2011.

Meanwhile, the Council authorized UN Secretary-general Ban Ki- moon to redeploy three infantry companies and an aviation unit from the UN peacekeeping mission in Liberia (UNMIL) to UNOCI.

The Council resolution stressed "the importance of UNOCI's continued support to the Ivorian peace process in accordance with its mandate, especially the completion of the unfinished tasks including the legislative elections," and the reunification of the country.

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