Accessibility links

Breaking News

Mediators Call for New Government Framework in Ivory Coast


International mediators of Ivory Coast's four-year civil war have called for a new institutional framework for the country's government. The country was to hold elections in October, but the mediators say conditions in the country make it impossible to hold them.

The U.N.-backed International Working Group on Ivory Coast, whose members monitor the implementation of a long-delayed peace process, met Friday in the country's commercial capital, Abidjan.

Speaking after the meeting, Pierre Schori, head of the U.N peacekeeping mission for Ivory Coast, told journalists a new strategy was needed to overcome the kinds of obstacles that have plagued efforts to organize presidential elections, viewed as the key to ending the crisis.

The Ivory Coast has been divided in two since rebels gained control of the northern part of the country four years ago. Disagreements among rival factions in all parts of the country are the major reason elections have not been held.

Schori said a new transition framework is indispensable in order to address this deadlock that has now made the October elections impossible.

The International Working Group (IWG) called for the Security Council to work with the African Union and a regional group, the Economic Community of West African States, to create new institutional and governance agreements for the period after October.

Elections were to take place in Ivory Coast last October, but conditions were too unstable. The Security Council then passed a resolution calling on the International Working Group to draw up as soon as possible a road map in consultation with all Ivorian parties, with a view to holding elections as soon as possible and no later than 31 October, 2006.

The resolution also prolonged the expired mandate of President Laurent Gbagbo for 12 months and called for the naming of a prime minister with increased powers who would lead the country to elections.

But Prime Minister Charles Konan Banny's efforts to implement a series of peace deals dating back to 2003 and clear the way for polls have met with fierce opposition, largely from Mr. Gbagbo's supporters.

The pro-Gbagbo Young Patriots movement has blocked a program to identify millions of undocumented Ivorians and foreign residents, a first step toward voter registration. And a disarmament program for southern militias loyal to the president has also stalled.

Mr. Banny dissolved his nine-month-old transitional government amid a toxic waste scandal Wednesday. He has said he will announce his new cabinet early next week.

The extension of Mr. Gbagbo's mandate runs out in October. He has said the constitution allows him to stay in power until elections can be held. Opposition and rebel leaders say they will not accept that.

The United Nations is expected to discuss the president's fate during meetings scheduled for September 20 in New York.