Friday, February 27, 2004

Cote d'Ivoire: UN troops

The UN Security Council has unanimously voted to send more than 6,000 peacekeepers to Cote d'Ivoire.
More than 4,000 French troops trying to help keep the peace will remain in the country but will not be part of the U.N. force.
The US will not be contributing troops to the mission.
The force's authorisation takes effect on April 4 for an initial period of one year.

France will continue to foot the bill for its own contingent of soldiers, while roughly 1,300 west African troops also currently on the ground will be incorporated into the new UN force.

That means the United Nations will only have to come up with around 4,000 or so troops, although it was not clear how many would be provided from contributing nations or if the UN could immediately muster the full 6,000. (link)
The US had initially opposed the idea of a mission to Cote d'Ivoire and only agreed to the deployment last week.
The American ambassador, John D. Negroponte, in a closed meeting of the Security Council [on Feb 4?], questioned a United Nations estimate that 6,240 peacekeeping soldiers were needed for the job and expressed concern that the mission might lead to a de facto partitioning of the country.
Some reports say this hesitation was due, in part, to the fact that the US pays 27% of peacekeeping costs.

A few days ago, Ivorian Prime Minister Seydou Diarra announced that government and rebel fighters will start disarming on March 8. Note that disarmament is due to start before the peacekeeping mission starts (April 4).