U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan says it will be impossible to hold elections in Ivory Coast next month. Mr. Annan criticized Ivorian leaders for their lack of preparation for the vote.
In a joint interview with French media, the secretary-general said the October 30 election in Ivory Coast will have to be postponed. The secretary also says he thinks the Security Council will eventually have to enact sanctions against the political parties.
Mr. Annan says an electoral commission has yet to be created in Ivory Coast and on a technical level it is not possible to organize the election by the scheduled date.
A U.N. special envoy in Abidjan said Thursday that the government had failed to publish voter lists on time, making it likely that deadlines could not be met.
At U.N. headquarters in New York, spokesman Stephane Dujarric blamed Ivorian political leaders for the delay.
"The technical preparations that need to be made have not been made and its clear that the local leadership on all sides have not taken the steps to create an atmosphere that is conducive to elections," said Mr. Dujarric.
The spokesman said Secretary-General Annan has repeatedly challenged Ivory Coast's political leaders to stop destabilizing the west African nation.
"The thing the secretary-general has repeated several times is he's really expressed his disappointment in the leaders on all sides who have signed agreement after agreement, and there's been a lack of implementation, and he strongly feels that these men who think they've earned the right to be president, to lead their country, are in fact standing by where their country is being torn apart," he added.
Ivory Coast has been split by civil war since 2002, when a failed coup by junior officers spiraled out of control. A series of peace accords and the threat of U.N. Security Council sanctions have failed to end the conflict.
Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo said last week the elections could be delayed if the country was not ready to hold them.
Rebels calling themselves the New Force have rejected the election, saying it could not be fair. They are threatening to take up arms again unless President Gbagbo resigns by October 30.