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Security Council extends deployment of extra troops in Côte d'Ivoire

The Security Council today decided to extend up to three months the temporary redeployment of United Nations peacekeeping units from Liberia to Côte d’Ivoire, which has been bedevilled by a political deadlock arising from presidential elections late last year.

This includes three infantry companies, an aviation unit comprising two utility helicopters and three armed ones and their crews from the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) to the UN Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI), according to the unanimously adopted resolution.

Côte d’Ivoire descended into turmoil in early December when outgoing President Laurent Gbagbo refused to leave office despite opposition leader Alassane Ouattara’s UN-certified victory in the run-off poll. Mr. Ouattara has been recognized by the international community as the duly elected president.

On 20 December, the Council renewed the mandate of the nearly 9,000-strong UNOCI force until the end of June this year, rejecting a demand by Mr. Gbagbo that the UN mission leave the country.

Then last month, it reinforced the mission with an extra 2,000 troops and equipment, which UNOCI chief Y. J. Choi said would provide “rapid reaction capability” essential for the protection of civilians.

UNOCI was established in 2004 by the Council to facilitate the peace process in the West African nation, which became split by civil war in 2002 into a rebel-held north and Government-controlled south.

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