Under a United Nations mandate, national elections are to take place in Ivory Coast no later than October 31st. Some seven-thousand United Nations and four-thousand French soldiers are deployed there to provide security and assist the peace process.
Ivory Coast has been divided since 2002, when a soldiers’ rebellion grew into an attempted coup d’etat. The coup failed but the rebels took control of the northern part of the country. A formal ceasefire, and a series of largely unimplemented peace agreements followed, along with a United Nations arms embargo. In April 2005, South African president Thabo Mbeki invited the factions in Ivory Coast to accept an African Union-sponsored mediation effort, building on the original peace accord. The Pretoria Agreement readdressed such issues as disarmament, demobilization, and the establishment of an independent electoral commission.
A new African Union peace initiative in October 2005 extended the original peace accords for another twelve months, until October 2006. Aubrey Hooks, the U.S. ambassador to Ivory Coast, says it is time for all parties to get to work:
"We still have eight months, or seven and a half, to organize elections. That is adequate time if there is political will to do so. I would, however, like to emphasize that this is a process that needs to get underway immediately because where there is adequate time to organize elections, there is no time to waste because it takes time to go through the process of identification and training of poll workers and doing all the things that have to be done to make sure that the elections take place smoothly."
The United States "supports the efforts of Prime Minister Konan Banny and his government and the International Working Group in facilitating the Ivorian peace process," and "urge[s] all Ivorian parties to support these efforts."
The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.