Liberia-Ivory Coast Sign Communiqué On Security, Other Issues
Thursday, 14th June 2012
Minister Ngafuan and other participant at the meetingAbidjan, Ivory Coast: Against the background of the recent June 8 attacks on the Ivorian side of the Liberian-Ivorian border, a four-party meeting between representatives of the Governments of Liberia and Cote d’Ivoire, the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) and the United Nations Operations in Cote d’Ivoire (UNOCI) have ended in the Ivorian capital where a joint communiqué was signed by all parties.
Photo Credit: Public Affairs
Photo Credit: Public Affairs
The crucial meeting which was held on Wednesday, June 13, 2012 at the Ivorian Ministry of Foreign Affairs discussed issues addressing the fragile security situation along the Liberian-Ivorian border in light of the recent attacks against UNOCI forces, matters relating to the extradition of Ivorian combatants who fled into Liberia and were arrested, as well as the turnover of vehicles confiscated from Cote d’Ivoire and taken into Liberia, matters of cooperation, dialogue, reconciliation and information exchange amongst chiefs and communities along the border and actions to reactivate the Joint Commission of the Ivorian-Liberian Cooperation.
The four-party meeting comes few days after the June 8th attacks against officers of UNOCI inside Cote d’Ivoire in which 7 military personnel of UNOCI were killed and related attacks in Cote d’Ivoire during which some 10 civilians and one Ivorian military officer were also killed.
Liberia’s Foreign Minister Augustine Kpehe Ngafuan represented the Liberian Government while his Ivorian counterpart, Daniel Kablan Duncan represented Cote d’Ivoire. The Deputy Special Representative of the UN Secretary General in Liberia (UNMIL) and Acting Special Representative and the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General in Cote d’Ivoire (UNOCI), Albert Koenders represented both UN missions respectively on both sides of the border.
The communiqué, among other issues, concluded with the two Governments and the two United Nations missions discussing their respective measures taken so far in order to intensify their patrols in the border areas. In support of the efforts of the Governments of Liberia and Côte d’Ivoire, UNMIL and UNOCI agreed to exercise maximum vigilance and to intensify their activities in the border area, in order to protect the citizens.
Air assets are currently in full use to complement the ground patrols on each side of the border, and will continue. The two missions have been in constant touch to coordinate their response, and both have taken immediate measures, including deploying additional elements to their respective areas along the common Ivorian-Liberian border, a highly densely forested and hostile terrain, in order to secure the border and protect citizens. (See complete communiqué below.)
According to the communiqué, the parties acknowledged that Liberia has taken steps to secure its territories by the temporary closure of its borders with Cote d’Ivoire, and a temporary suspension of alluvial mining activities in all areas along the common border.
The participants who also established sub-committees stressed that these tragic events have demonstrated the need to continue to reinforce the cooperation between the two neighboring countries, supported by their two partners, UNMIL and UNOCI, for the consolidation of peace in the sub-region.
Both governments reiterated their commitment to working closely to stabilize the border area with an aim to render it peaceful and stable for sustainable development.
The parties, among other agreements, also agreed to reinforce their respective militaries and police on each side of the borders, for better collaboration and coordination between the forces through exchange of information and common actions and to take steps towards strengthening relationship between the security forces and the populations on each side of the border through civilian-military activities and better communications.
Wednesday’s meeting was also a sequel to a high level ministerial session held also in Abidjan on 2 May 2012 which discussed security matters along the two countries’ borders, including the situation of ex-combatants operating on either sides of the border, and actions to reactivate the Joint Commission between Liberia and Cote d’Ivoire.