Ivorian polls top talks between UN peacekeeping chief and Prime Minister

Mr. Soro announced in May that presidential elections will be held on 29 November. The ballot had been repeatedly postponed after President Laurent Gbagbo’s mandate expired in October 2005. The UN peacekeeping mission in Côte d’Ivoire, known as UNOCI, has been assisting in the implementation of the 2007 Ouagadougou Agreement, a blueprint for political reconciliation in the West African country which has been divided since 2002 between the Government-held south and a northern area dominated by the rebel Forces Nouvelles.Speaking to reporters in Abidjan, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Alain Le Roy said he and Mr. Soro discussed the preparations for the polls and further measures to be taken in the coming weeks so that the elections actually take place on 29 November. Mr. Le Roy reiterated the support of UNOCI to ensuring a safe and peaceful atmosphere during the elections, according to a news release issued by the mission. UNOCI has been providing technical and logistical support for preparations for the elections, including in areas such as voter identification and registration. Over 6 million voters have been registered so far, or about 70 per cent of the country’s eligible voter pool.The UN peacekeeping chief, who began his visit on 10 June, also met yesterday with key political actors, including opposition leaders and with the Special Representative of the Facilitator of the Ivorian peace process.In addition to Côte d’Ivoire, Mr. Le Roy is expected to travel to Burkina Faso, Liberia, Mali and Nigeria, where he will meet with Government officials and local authorities. 12 June 2009The role of the United Nations mission in Côte d’Ivoire in the country’s peace process, especially ahead of the upcoming presidential election, was high on the agenda as the world body’s top peacekeeping official met with Prime Minister Guillaume Soro today.