Analysis Brief

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Prepared by: Esther Pan
January 21, 2006


A week of youth-led street protests left four people dead (BBC) and raised serious questions about the French-led international intervention in Ivory Coast that had kept a lid on the nation's civil war. UN officials say they will meet in the coming week to consider imposing a travel ban (Reuters) on a series of local leaders seen as threats to the country's fragile truce.

President Laurent Gbagbo and youth leaders associated with his party urged mobs of rampaging teenagers to end the violence as the week came to a close(NYT). The unrest began January 16 after an international mediation team recommended the country's parliament, a staunch ally of the president, be disbanded (IRIN).

The country has been split in half since a 2002 civil war; some 11,000 UN and French troops are currently in the nation enforcing a fragile truce. The government of President Laurent Gbagbo and rebel groups are supposed to be implementing a UN peace plan calling for disarmament, reunification, and elections by the end of October 2006, but little progress has been made.

Gbago’s presidential term was due to expire in 2005 but was extended for one year by the United Nations after unrest cancelled elections scheduled for October 2005. Now, the BBC says, Gbagbo seems reluctant to end his country’s conflict if it means he will lose power, a position that could torpedo the ongoing peace process (Reuters). The UN Security Council, which had threatened sanctions, stopped short of imposing them on the country as Secretary-General Kofi Annan appealed for all parties to cooperate to end the violence.  

Related links: Library of Congress’ Ivory Coast country study | A list of resources from the UPenn | UN mission in Ivory Coast

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