UN council lifts 12-year-old Ivory Coast arms embargo

The United Nations Security Council removes 12-year-old arms embargo on Ivory Coast.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

A monument with elephant statues and Ivory Coast flags are seen in Platau, the business center of Abidjan on August 6, 2010. (Reuters)

The United Nations Security Council removed a 12-year-old arms embargo on Ivory Coast on Thursday and renewed the UN peacekeeping mission in the West African state for a final year.

Ivory Coast, the world's biggest cocoa grower, has emerged from a decade-long crisis that culminated in a brief 2011 war to become a rising African economic star.

The UN arms embargo on Ivory Coast was imposed in 2004 after an initial 2002-2003 civil war.

"[Ivory Coast's] example proves that security endeavours can attain their ends when assisting a country in extracting itself from a crisis," French UN Ambassador Francois Delattre told the council after the unanimously voted.

Francois Delattre, Ambassador of France to United Nations addresses a news conference during the 9th annual joint consultative meeting between the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council and the United Nations (UN) Security Council.

Under the resolution, UN peacekeepers, who were deployed in 2004, will leave Ivory Coast by April 30, 2017. The UN will then have two months to complete the mission’s closure. There are currently some 6,900 UN troops and police in Ivory Coast, according to the UN.

The UN Security Council lifted the arms embargo and an asset freeze and travel ban on six people, including former Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo who is on trial before the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity.

The council partially eased the arms embargo on Ivory Coast in 2014 and removed a ban on its diamond exports, a measure that UN experts said had failed to stop illicit trafficking.

The UN experts, who monitor the arms embargo, said earlier this year that Ivory Coast rebel leader-turned-parliament speaker Guillaume Soro used the 2011 civil war and its aftermath in an attempt to obtain hundreds of tons of weapons, many of which remain under the control of his loyalists in the army.

TRTWorld and agencies