The Security Council has today decided to downsize the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI), decreasing its military component from 5,437 to 4,000 personnel by 31 March 2016 amid calls to lift the sanctions against the Government, given its recent progress in consolidating peace and stability.
Unanimously adopting resolution 2260 (2016) under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, the Council recalled its request to the Secretary-General to provide no later than 31 March 2016 a report containing recommendations consistent with paragraph 25 of resolution 2226 (2015). That provision, among other things, reaffirms the Council’s intention to consider downsizing UNOCI and possibly terminating its mandate on the basis of the Government’s capacity to take over the mission’s security role following the October 2015 presidential elections.
For background on those matters, the Council had before it the Secretary-General’s latest report (document S/2015/940), in which he states that the successful conclusion of the electoral period and prevailing stability would warrant the reduction of UNOCI to a “residual strength” force that would prioritize its deployment in the west and other high risk areas.
Speaking after the vote, Egypt’s representative said he had voted in favour of the resolution, although he had hoped the text would have contained proposals made by Côte d’Ivoire to remove sanctions against it. While supporting the details of a drawdown of UNOCI personnel, he said it was also important to lift the measures against the Government. Parallel to a drawdown, he urged taking measures to reform the security sector so the Government could take on its responsibility to maintain peace and security over its territory, given the challenges the country was facing in that regard. In the meantime, he looked forward to an in-depth discussion in March on the lifting of sanctions.
The full text of resolution 2260 (2016) reads as follows:
“The Security Council,
“Recalling its previous resolutions concerning the situation in Côte d’Ivoire, in particular resolutions 2226 (2015) and 2219 (2015), and the statements of its President relating to the situation in Côte d’Ivoire, resolution 2239 (2015) on the situation in Liberia and resolution 2227 (2015) on the situation in Mali,
“Taking note of the report of 8 December 2015 of the Secretary-General (S/2015/940), including his recommendation on the drawdown of the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI),
“Welcoming the successful holding of the presidential election on 25 October 2015 as a critical milestone in consolidating Côte d’Ivoire’s long term peace and stability, commending the Government of Côte d’Ivoire for facilitating an environment conducive to a free, fair, peaceful and transparent election, further commending the work undertaken by the Independent Electoral Commission to oversee this election and the important role played by the Ivorian security forces to provide security during the electoral period, and congratulating the people of Côte d´Ivoire for demonstrating their strong commitment to peace and democracy,
“Welcoming the considerable and continued progress made in Côte d’Ivoire on the path of reconciliation, stability, security, justice and economic recovery, encouraging continued efforts in this regard, including through deepening the partnership between the Government of Côte d’Ivoire and relevant United Nations agencies, and recognizing that while such progress has been achieved, some fragility remains,
“Determining that the situation in Côte d’Ivoire continues to pose a threat to international peace and security in the region,
“Acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations,
“1. Decides to decrease the authorized ceiling of UNOCI’s military component from 5,437 to 4,000 military personnel by 31 March 2016;
“2. Recalls its request to the Secretary-General to provide to the Council no later than 31 March 2016 a report containing recommendations consistent with paragraph 25 of resolution 2226 (2015), and expresses its intention to consider these recommendations promptly, taking into account the situation in Côte d’Ivoire;
“3. Decides to remain seized of the matter.”