UN Security Council votes to extend Ivory Coast sanctions

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Thursday, October 29, 2009

The United Nations Security Council voted unanimously on Thursday to extend the arms embargo on the Ivory Coast (otherwise known as Côte d'Ivoire) for a year.

In addition, the 15-member council renewed a ban on exporting diamonds and foreign travel, as well as an asset freeze for persons who are discovered to have violated human rights or disrupting the peace. "[...] the situation in the Ivory Coast continues to pose a threat to international peace and security in the region," the council said.

The largest producer of cocoa in the world, Ivory Coast has been in turmoil ever since rebels attempted to overthrow president Laurent Gbagbo in 2002, which soon escalated into a civil war. The UN implemented an arms embargo against the country in 2004, after a ceasefire between rebels and government forces was violated.

The Security Council said that the sanctions would remain in place until October 31 of next year, but that it would review its measures three months after presidential elections are held. Elections in Ivory Coast are scheduled for November 29; however, authorities said that it is unlikely that the polls will be held at that date, citing preparation delays.

Ilahiri Djedje, the Ivory Coast's ambassador to the UN, expressed his disappointment at the council's decision. "[We] had expected to today obtain a clear commitment by the Security Council in favor of a lifting of sanctions following the presidential elections," he said. "There is no reason why individual sanctions should be maintained. The resolution adopted today is not tailored to assist Ivorians in their process of reconciliation."