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ICG: Côte d'Ivoire: What's Needed to End the Crisis

July 2, 2009

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This ICG report on the political crisis in Côte d'Ivoire provides an overview or recent developments in the peace process and recommendations on how to advance peace in 2009.

On 4 March 2007, the two main actors in the Côte d'Ivoire crisis signed the Ouagadougou Peace Agreement (OPA). The deal initially produced a peaceful atmosphere. The demarcation line between the armed forces was dismantled, a new government formed and the groundwork laid for addressing the conflict's key questions: Ivorian identity and citizenship, and presidential legitimacy. Yet, more than two years later, the OPA is in deep trouble. The conflict will only be resolved if the commitments made in the Burkinabé capital are finally translated into action. Organising credible elections will not be enough to rescue Côte d'Ivoire from a decade-long crisis; substantial progress in the disarmament process and genuine reunification of the administration are also needed. President Compaoré's facilitation needs to generate new momentum, and other international partners must increase their pressure.

Political leaders have been pushed to the wall, with less than a half-year left to organise free and transparent elections as agreed and proceed with disarming thousands of combatants. Another postponement of elections would be a death blow to the OPA. If armed groups are not at least partially dismantled, there will be a severe risk of new unrest.

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