Ivorian Mission Disavows Its Peace Messenger As Posts Remain Unfilled
Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN
UNITED NATIONS, July
5 -- In the aftermath of the missile-fire in Bouake at the plane carrying
ex-Forces Nouvelles rebel, now Ivorian prime minister Guillaume Soro, the UN
Mission in Cote d'Ivoire, UNOCI, has issued two press releases. UNOCI rushed to
state that "the comments made by its Peace Messenger on the Bouake events do
not reflect the position of UNOCI."
Headquarters on Thursday, Inner City Press inquired into this cryptic statement,
as well as asking on the record for the UN's response to charges from the Forces
Nouvelles' deputy chief of states that the UN is responsible for the shoot-down,
because it did not adequately secure the Bouake airport. Ban Ki-moon's Deputy
Spokesperson Marie Okabe
"the UN mission in Cote d'Ivoire is not
responsible for the security of any airport in the country, except concerning UN
flights, when it is requested to provide security. So the airport security in
Bouake is the responsibility of the Forces Nouvelles. But this is a guidance
that I received on Tuesday."
City Press has asked the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations if and when
they have provided security to Mr. Soro, who has said both that he knows who
shot his plane, and that he will continue the peace process with President
shot the plane? When Inner City Press asked about UNOCI's cryptic disavowal of
its Peace Messenger Alpha Blondy's statement, the response was that Mr. Blondy
had blamed France for the shoot-down. While Inner City Press is dubious, one
observer said, "Drole de messager de la paix" (funny peace messenger).
Another riffed that the motive, under this conspiracy theory, would be France
wanting to stay in Cote d'Ivoire, and noted ironically that the UN might have
the same motive. No one, to our knowledge, has accused Alpha Blondy himself...
the most popular theory has it that the left-behind Forces Nouvelle, feeling
sold-out, fired at the plane. Reportedly, they are concerned that Soro's deal
with Gbagbo would leave them too long when and if integrated in to the Ivorian
army. Mr. Soro says he knows his Forces' methods, and this is not them.
Blondy, UN's Messenger of Peace
Back on May 23, Inner City
Question: In the Ivory Coast, President
[Laurent] Gbagbo has said that he requested and obtained the departure of not
only Mr. [Pierre] Schori, but Mr. [Gerard] Stoudmann, the envoy for the
elections. Is that true, that he's obtained his ouster and does Ban Ki-moon
still stand behind Mr. Stoudmann? Will he be returning to Ivory Coast to
oversee the elections?
Spokesperson: Well, I don't know. I will
ask about Mr. Stoudmann and whether he will go back there. As far as I know and
as far as the Secretary-General knows, Mr. Schori left at the end of his regular
Question: The Secretary-General's 14 May
report on Côte d’Ivoire says all Ivorian parties recognize the importance to
maintain the United Nations responsibility for international certification. It
seems that Mr. Gbagbo no longer agrees with that. He was saying that Mr.
Stoudmann overstepped his power and wanted to be a co-President. So I guess I'm
just, has Ban Ki-moon received a letter from Mr. Gbagbo since he wrote this
Spokesperson: No, he has not. However,
you know, if you want an update on the situation in the Ivory Coast, we can
certainly get one for you.
An update came on
The Security Council’s mission to Africa
is wrapping up its visit to Cote d'Ivoire, and the leader of the Council
delegation to that country, Ambassador Jorge Voto-Bernales of Peru, just gave a
press conference in Abidjan about the results of that visit.
He said that the Council mission had met
with President Laurent Gbagbo and with Prime Minister Guillaume Soro, both of
whom stressed that the United Nations should remain involved in the country to
certify the identification process, elections and other measures to implement
the Ouagadougou Peace Agreement. The mission also met with the representative
of the facilitator of that Agreement, Foreign Minister Michel Bassolet of
In their discussions, Ambassador
Voto-Bernales said, the Council delegation and Ivorian officials discussed the
modalities of how the United Nations can assist the process leading up to
elections, as well as the elections themselves.
The United Nations and Ivorian officials
will begin discussions on how to maintain the functions of High Representative
for Elections Gerard Stoudmann's Office, and whether it would be included in the
Office of the Secretary-General's Special Representative.
former Special Representative of the Secretary General Pierre Schori
unceremoniously left, no new SRSG has been named. (Then again, the post of the
UN's Office of Special Adviser on Africa has been left vacant for two months as
well.) On Cote d'Ivoire, some speculate that the parties -- read, Gbagbo -- want
former UN Assistant Secretary-General for Political
Affairs Tuliameni Kalomoh. He is, however, getting back involved in politics in
his native Namibia. Others say the fix is in for the next SRSG to be an
American. We'll see.
Feedback: Editorial [at]
UN Office: S-453A,
UN, NY 10017 USA Tel: 212-963-1439
(and weekends): 718-716-3540
Other, earlier Inner
City Press are listed here, and
some are available in the ProQuest service.
Copyright 2006-07 Inner City Press, Inc. To request reprint or other
permission, e-contact Editorial [at] innercitypress.com -
UN Office: S-453A, UN, NY 10017 USA Tel:
Reporter's mobile (and weekends):