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Côte d'Ivoire / UNOCI chief receives FES delegation

By Mission of UN in Côte d'Ivoire
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ABIDJAN, Côte d'Ivoire, November 22, 2011/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- The Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Côte d' Ivoire, Bert Koenders, received on Tuesday 22 November 2011 a delegation of the German foundation, Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES), led by its representative for Côte d'Ivoire, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, Jens Hettmann.

At the end of the meeting, Mr. Hettmann stated that the delegation from FES, which works to promote and deepen democracy and consolidate rule of law through training and civic education within civil society, media and the trade union movement, had come to renew ties with the UN Operation in Côte d'Ivoire (UNOCI) with a view to joint collaboration.

Mr. Hettman added that, to this end, he had met the first head of UNOCI, Albert Tevoedjre, in 2004. At that time, he recalled, ONUCI FM had been set up with a view to envisaging participation by FES in the crisis-resolution process. “At the time, we had intended to produce programmes with ONUCI FM because we work a lot with media on freedom of the media and freedom of expression,” he explained. “We wanted to produce radio programmes within the context of the coming elections to enable the populations to be informed in an objective manner on the conditions that need to be fulfilled for them to exercise their right as voters.”

He added that his meeting with the current special representative, Bert Koenders, was aimed at relaunching that project. “Since this was our first meeting, we were not able to go into all the details, but it is clear that we are aiming at collaboration so as to work together for the good of the country, for the sequels of the crisis to become history one day and for peace and stability to return,” Mr. Hettmann stressed.

Explaining the role the FES aims to play in the crisis-resolution process, its representative said that the Foundation did not intend to replace UNOCI by acting directly. Rather, he said, “we focus on training future leaders because we think that this country needs a new political elite that has a new, more modern, more democratic approach to state affairs.”