Consultations on Côte d'Ivoire, Somalia and Eritrea
Ambassador DeLaurentis: Good afternoon, everyone. Sorry to be so late. I hope you had a chance to eat something beforehand. Let me say a couple things about this morning’s session, and then I’ll take a couple questions. This morning, Under-Secretary-General Hervé Ladsous reviewed the progress and challenges in Côte d’Ivoire. Ladsous noted that while President Ouattara has introduced important political and economic reforms, the pace of disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration of the country’s estimated 65,000 former combatants remains uneven.
Ladsous indicated that the security situation, especially along the Ivoirian-Liberian border, remains fragile, and reported on the efforts of UNOCI and UNMIL to assist the governments of Côte d’Ivoire and Liberia to improve cross-border security. He also noted that inter-mission cooperation between UNOCI and the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali—MINUSMA—is currently being considered. Council members noted progress in some areas and remaining challenges, including the security situation.
In my national capacity, I would like to note that the United States welcomes the important progress Côte d’Ivoire has achieved since the post-electoral crisis. We remain concerned that insufficient progress on national reconciliation and SSR/DDR threatens to undermine these gains and continue to urge the Ivoirian Government to redouble its commitment to professionalizing the security forces, to investigate the crimes committed by all sides in the post-electoral conflict, and to address the underlying causes of conflict. As we review and consider UNOCI’s mandate, we must keep in mind the Council’s responsibility to help safeguard the region against a return to violence.
Turning now to the Horn of Africa. Republic of Korea Ambassador Kim Sook, in his capacity as the Chair of the Somalia/Eritrea Sanctions Committee, briefed the Council on the Committee’s work over the last 180 days, including Committee deliberations over the Somalia/Eritrea Monitoring Group’s Final Report.
Council members had a good discussion related to a number of key issues concerning Somalia and Eritrea. Council members roundly expressed concern that Al Shabaab continues to benefit from the banned charcoal trade and poses a serious threat to Somalia and the region.
We also discussed the significant progress the Somali Government has made, as well as the challenges it still faces, particularly in the areas of security sector reform, management of public finances and strict compliance with sanctions measures.
Finally, Council members also spoke about the role of regional governments and the need for all regional partners to work toward building a peaceful, stable Somalia, including by implementing sanctions obligations. With that, I’m happy to take a couple of questions.
Reporter: Mr. Ambassador, could you tell us the status of the report—the Panel of Experts report—on the Somalia/Eritrea sanctions issue? If there was a discussion of its release and what the problems are?
Ambassador DeLaurentis: Well, there are two reports – the Somalia report and the Eritrea report. The Somalia report was released, and we remain deeply troubled by some of the Monitoring Group’s findings, and we encourage the Eritrean Government to play a productive role in the region. With respect to the other, as it remains with the Committee, it’s still a confidential document, and we’ll continue to discuss the release of it. But beyond that I’m really not able to make any further comment about it.
Reporter: Just on the ship, the North Korean ship, that was seized in Panama. They asked the UN for help yesterday. Could you tell us what steps will be taken now?
Ambassador DeLaurentis: Well, there’s – first of all, I should say the United States commends the actions of the Government of Panama in bringing this swiftly to the Committee. Efforts are ongoing to determine the contents of the vessel. We’ve been saying in Washington and I will continue here that shipment of most or related material to and from North Korea would violate UN sanctions, UN Council Resolutions 1718, 1874, and 2094. We understand that the group will be visiting Panama very soon, and we’ll start the investigation. And then we’ll take it from there.
Reporter: I’m going to ask you, on Côte d’Ivoire, there was a discussion of this killing of perceived Gbagbo supporters in the Nahibly camp in Duékoué, and also there’s an allegation there that the UN peacekeepers sort of either stood by or didn’t protect civilians, and I wanted to know what’s happening with that. And also did the U.S. meet with Sudan in the last few days or quite possibly during the Syria meeting on the topic of the seven killed peacekeepers in Darfur and what, what are the next steps to actually determine who’s responsible for those killings? Thanks.
Ambassador DeLaurentis: On the first, I do not believe that issue came up, but perhaps we can get some additional information on that. On the second, the Sudanese ambassador did, in fact, did come to the Presidency to essentially outline the points in his letter of July 15th it was, with respect to the recent attack and indicated that they would investigate and try to bring the perpetrators to justice.
Reporter: Is there a Tanzanian role in that investigation as well? Because Tanzania said it’s sending, like, its own people. Just wanted to understand how, with the new schedule…
Ambassador DeLaurentis: Yeah, I’m not sure of the details of that. You’re quite right, the Tanzanians did say that they were going to send their, send a team as well to have a look. We haven’t had any further details about that.