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Ivory Coast's Gbagbo Vows to Hold Elections This Year


Ivory Coast's president has reiterated his commitment to holding presidential elections as scheduled before the end of this year. President Laurent Gbagbo made the pledge during a meeting with a delegation of U.N. Security Council ambassadors Monday in Abidjan. VOA's Margaret Besheer has more from the Ivorian capital.

The Security Council delegation met with stakeholders from across the Ivorian election horizon, including opposition members, civil society, the military and the president during their day-long visit.

Burkina Faso's U.N. Ambassador Michel Kafando, who led the delegation's visit to Abidjan, said after the meeting with Mr. Gbagbo that the president is confident in the electoral process, despite some difficulties, and says for him the November 30 election date is set and nothing will change it.

Ambassador Kafando said in their meetings with other stakeholders in the election, they all agreed that the November 30 date could be respected.

He said the council expressed some concerns to the president that there could be election violence, but Mr. Gbagbo was hopeful that the situation would not spin out of control because the Ivorian people have a lot at stake and also because of the presence of the U.N. peacekeeping mission known as UNOCI.

President Gbagbo told the council that it is absolutely crucial the international community make sure there are adequate funds for the remaining steps for the electoral process, so as to avoid any further delay.

Meanwhile, the two institutions in charge of the election logistics - the census office (INS) and the private logistics company SAGEM - are reporting progress in their work.

The head of the election commission Beugre Mambé says now is the time for potential international election monitors to get involved in the process, not just before the election takes place.

After meeting with President Gbagbo, the Security Council delegation wrapped up its five-country African mission and departed for New York.

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