U.N. Security Council imposes arms embargo against Ivory Coast | NevadaAppeal.com

U.N. Security Council imposes arms embargo against Ivory Coast

By NICK WADHAMS

Associated Press Writer

UNITED NATIONS – The U.N. Security Council voted unanimously Monday to impose an immediate arms embargo against Ivory Coast and gave the country’s warring sides one month to revive a shattered peace process or face more sanctions.

The resolution is the council’s attempt to rein in chaos that began Nov. 4 in Ivory Coast when government forces launched a new offensive against rebels in the north.

Three days later, President Laurent Gbagbo’s air force bombed a French military post, killing nine French peacekeepers and an American aid worker. That touched off violent demonstrations that led to the evacuation of more than 5,000 foreigners.

The resolution, drafted by France, imposes an immediate 13-month arms embargo against Ivory Coast.

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The resolution would also give the government and the rebels a month – until Dec. 15 – to get the peace process back on track or impose travel ban and asset freeze against those blocking peace, violating human rights, and preventing the disarmament of combatants.

Also included in the ban would be anyone who incites public hatred or violence – a reference to hate messages on television and radio that have been whipping up anti-French anger.

Those sanctions would last for a year if the peace process isn’t restarted. The council would then review Ivory Coast’s progress and decide whether to continue the sanctions.

In particular, the draft resolution seeks enforcement of a July disarmament agreement and demands the government and the rebels return to a French-brokered peace deal from January 2003 that established a unity government.

The resolution had been ready to go Friday, but the Security Council agreed to hold off voting after getting a request for delay from South African President Thabo Mbeki. He wanted to give time for mediation efforts by the African Union.

At a meeting in the Nigerian capital Abuja on Sunday, African leaders backed the embargo and other sanctions.

About 6,000 U.N. peacekeepers and 4,000 French troops are deployed in Ivory Coast, a former French colony, to try to monitor and promote peace in the wake of a civil war begun in September 2002. Maintaining peace there is seen as vital to regional efforts to recover from 1990s civil wars.