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UN Diplomat Says October Elections Unlikely in Ivory Coast

The head of the United Nations mission in Ivory Coast says the U.N. is still considering sanctions against people who are creating obstacles to peace in the war divided country. The U.N..Special representative for elections in Ivory Coast does not believe that it will possible to hold elections scheduled for October 30.

The U.N. envoy in Ivory Coast, Pierre Schori, says that the UN committee responsible for sanctions will visit Ivory Coast in October. The United Nations is considering targeted sanctions on individuals who contribute to the atmosphere of hate in the country and people who have committed human rights violations.

Speaking at the UN offices in Abidjan, Ivory Coast's commercial capital, Mr. Schori urged Ivorians not to depend on the international community to resolve their problems.

He said that the peace process needs to be nationalized, and Ivorians must take their responsibilities to bring peace to the country.

Mr. Schori was accompanied by the U.N. High Representative for Elections in Ivory Coast, Antonio Monteiro, who is meant to assist and supervise polls scheduled for October 30. But it is unlikely that the polls can take place on time, because disarmament has not taken place and rolls of voters have not been prepared.

New Forces rebels, headed by Guillame Soro, have rejected October polls saying that they will not be fair. They also say if Mr. Gbagbo does not leave office by midnight, October 30, they will again take up arms. To try and gain support for elections, Mr. Monteiro wants polls to be delayed until conditions for free and fair elections exist. After speaking with the rebel leader, he says he is hopeful the New Forces will not carry out their threat to take up arms after October.

"I was assured by Mr. Soro and all the parties [that] they want elections," said Antonio Monteiro. "I will help them to have these elections done but I don't think the date of the 30th of October will determine the war in October. This would be a foolish pretext."

Mr. Monteiro said that he will not certify an election that is not democratic and honest and is optimistic that future elections will still lead to an end of the conflict.

Ivory Coast has been split by civil war since 2002, when a failed coup by junior officers spiralled into a civil war. Various peace accords have failed to end the conflict in Ivory Coast because both sides have dragged their feet in implementing them.