Advanced search

UK Mission to the United Nations

New York

London 19:35, 02 Jan 2013
New York 14:35, 02 Jan 2013
Last updated at 21:45 (UK time) 9 Nov 2012

Ivory Coast

UN Photo/Basile Zoma

Ivory Coast (Cote d’Ivoire)

The UK is supporting the international and regional efforts to consolidate peace and security in Cote d’Ivoire following the post-electoral crisis that erupted at the end of 2010.

The UK fully supports recent Security Council resolution 2062 (2012) on the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) adopted on 26 July 2012. Resolution 2062:

  • extends UNOCI’s mandate for another twelve months to 31 July 2013;
  • endorses the Secretary-General’s recommendation for a reduction of one battalion of UNOCI’s military component and encourages the United Nations country team to reconfigure to the west;
  • urges the Ivorian government to make more progress on disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration (DDR) and on security sector reform (SSR) and emphasises the urgent need for concrete measures to promote justice and reconciliation;
  • stresses that the primary responsibility for organising the upcoming local elections lies with the Ivorian government, but mandates UNOCI to assist within existing means;
  • calls for greater cooperation between the governments of Côte d’Ivoire and Liberia, and also between UNOCI and the United Nations Mission in Liberia, in order to assist in stabilising the border area.

  ECOWAS and the African Union led calls for former President Gbagbo to stand down.  The UK hopes that the 11 April detention, by Ivoirian forces, of Mr Gbabgo, will help to establish the opportunity for the people of Cote d’Ivoire find a peaceful and democratic way forward, and for reconciliation to take place.

The Security Council visited Côte d’Ivoire in May 2012 as part of its mission to West Africa.

Sanctions Regime

The Security Council imposed an arms embargo and targeted sanctions in 2004, through Resolution 1572.  These measures were most recently extended until 30 April 2013 through Resolution 2045, which was adopted on 26 April 2012.  

Under the UN sanctions regime, targeted measures may be imposed against individuals who, among other things, are determined to be:

  • A threat to the peace and national reconciliation process in Côte d’Ivoire, in particular by blocking the implementation of the peace process, as referred to in the Ouagadougou Political Agreement;
  • Attacking or obstructing the action of UNOCI, of the French forces which support it, of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, of the Facilitator, of his Special Representative in Côte d’Ivoire;
  • Responsible for obstacles to the freedom of movement of UNOCI and of the French forces which support it;
  • Responsible for serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law committed in Côte d’Ivoire;
  • Inciting publicly hatred and violence.

The full list of individuals currently subject to the measures is available here.

Recent history

On 19 September 2002, an attempted coup took place.  Although it failed, rebels gained control of the northern half of the country.  They expressed dissatisfaction at retirement plans for the army, and expressed grievances over the government's treatment of northerners.  A cease-fire was signed in May 2003, followed by a protracted standoff between rebel and loyalist forces.  A series of negotiations followed over a period of nearly five years.  An international contact group met monthly to discuss the problem from November 2005 to February 2007. Various formulations of unity governments have been tried, offering ministerial posts to former rebels (now known as the New Forces) and political opposition.  

In March 2007 a new agreement, the Ouagadougou Accord, was signed between then President Gbagbo, and the leader of the New Forces, Guillaume Soro, under the mediation of Burkinabe President Blaise Compaore, under which Soro became Prime Minister.  The formal division between the rebel-held north and the government south ended and the country was officially re-united in April 2007 - though significant progress has yet to be made on re-integrating the rebel forces into the army, or on the national identification process, and the Ouagadougou Accord was supplemented by a further agreement in November 2007.

Elections provided for under Ouagadougou were postponed several times, but finally held in 2010.  The first round was held peacefully.   Following the second round vote in the Presidential elections, on 28 November 2010, the Independent Electoral Commission and the UN Special Representative of the Secretary General, Mr Choi Young-Jin, confirmed that Alassane Ouattara had defeated the incumbent, Laurent Gbagbo. For over four months, former President Gbagbo refused to accept the outcome of the elections, which led to an unstable stalemate in Abidjan.  His 11 April detention, by Ivoirian forces, could offer an opportunity for the people of Cote d’Ivoire find a peaceful and democratic way forward, and for reconciliation to take place.

On 21 May 2011, Alassane Ouattara was inaugurated President in the country’s capital Yamoussoukro. In November 2011, former President Gbagbo was transferred to The Hague to stand trial at the International Criminal Court on charges of crimes against humanity.  

Useful Links

FCO Country Profile - Ivory Coast


Foreign Secretary Statement on arrest of Former Presdent Gbagbo

2011 UNHCR country operations profile for Côte d'Ivoire  

The UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Cote d’Ivoire page (in French)