Côte d'Ivoire / Special Representative visits the west of the country a few hours before legislative polls
ABIDJAN, Côte d'Ivoire, December 8, 2011/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- The Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Côte d'Ivoire, Bert Koenders, travelled on Wednesday 7 December 2011 to the western towns of Toulepleu and Guiglo, a few hours ahead of the 11 December legislative elections.
The head of the UN Operation in Côte d'Ivoire (UNOCI) visited Toulepleu to look into conditions for the voluntary return of Ivoirian refugees from Liberia. In this regard, he met the administrative authorities, led by the préfet, Abdoul Karim Diarra, to see what measures need to be taken with regard to the population and security so that the refugees can receive a proper welcome.
In Guiglo, 116 km from Toulepleu, Mr. Koenders met the préfet, Koissi Miezan Henry Abel, before having a series of discussions with representatives of the population. He called on them to conduct peaceful elections so as to facilitate reconciliation. He also highlighted the logistical and security-related support UNOCI is providing to help ensure successful legislative polls.
Responding to a question about the transfer of ex-president Laurent Gbagbo to The Hague, the UNOCI chief explained that that decision had been taken by the International Criminal Court without any UN involvement.
The Special Representative then met UNOCI's Blue Helmets, whom he congratulated for the work they have been doing, and encouraged them in their task of contributing to the security of the legislative polls.
Mr. Koenders specially welcomed the presence of a Bangladeshi company that came from the UN Mission in Liberia to help its UNOCI colleagues in this important period of the electoral process.
The Special Representative was accompanied during his entire visit by UNHCR Country Representative Anne Encontre, and UNOCI's Deputy Force Commander, General Talla Niang.