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UN Official Hopeful for Ivory Coast Peace


A U.N. official says he is confident the latest international move to bring stability to Ivory Coast will work, even though the country's president has said he will not not apply all of the terms of a U.N. Security Council resolution passed this week.

The U.N. elections chief in Ivory Coast, Gérard Stoudman, says there are no inconsistencies between the U.N. resolution and Ivory Coast's constitution. The resolution, adopted in New York on Wednesday, extends the mandate of the transitional government for another year, and gives the interim prime minister greater authority.

Ivory Coast's president, Laurent Gbagbo, says there are aspects of the resolution that violate the constitution and they will not be applied.

But, U.N. official Stoudman told reporters in Ivory Coast's commercial capital, Abidjan, the resolution does not violate the constitution and he does not believe there will be problems with implementation.

"The new resolution can be perfectly implemented in accordance with the Ivorian constitution," he said. "The constitution has an Article 53, which also allows the president to delegate powers to the prime minister, and, on this basis, it is clear that everything [that] is suggested in the resolution could be done without violating the constitution."

President Laurent Gbagbo has made it clear he will not endow Prime Minister Charles Konan Banny with key functions specified by the resolution, such as control of the army and the power of decree. In the eleven months since his appointment, Mr. Banny has been unable to enforce measures, which were challenged by Mr. Gbagbo.

Meanwhile, northern rebels and opposition leaders alike have endorsed the new resolution, hoping it will enable Mr. Banny to organize voter identification, one of their key demands.

Senior opposition figures have told VOA however, that the U.N. resolution does not go far enough, because it gives Mr. Gbagbo too much room, as they put it, to hide behind the constitution.

Abidjan remained calm Friday, with police stationed in key areas. Mr. Gbagbo had warned people against protesting.

The Security Council resolution gave Mr. Gbagbo a second and final one-year extension as president.

More than 11,000 U.N. and French peacekeepers guard a buffer zone between the north and south of Ivory Coast. The rebels took the north after a failed coup spiraled into civil war in 2002.

Mr. Gbagbo expects them to disarm before their demands of voter identification are met, a condition the rebels have rejected. They question the credibility of the electoral list used in 2000, when Mr. Gbagbo was elected for a five year term.

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