UN calls for launching of identification process ahead of Ivorian polls

“It is urgent to begin the identification operations without delay so that we can meet the deadlines set in the electoral process,” the Secretary-General’s Special Representative, Y. J. Choi, told journalists following a meeting with President Laurent Gbagbo.Mr. Choi also highlighted the logistical challenges that still need to be tackled, as well as the numerous advances that have been made, including the availability of funds to organise the electoral operations.Côte d’Ivoire became divided in 2002 between the Government-controlled south and the rebel Forces Nouvelles-held north, but last year’s Ouagadougou Agreement paved the way for an end to the conflict and included a provision calling for free and fair elections to be held. Presidential polls were to be organized as far back as 2005, but have been delayed several times since then.During the meeting with the President, presentations were made on how the UN Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) would support the organization of, and security for, the election, scheduled for 30 November.The Chief of UNOCI’s Electoral Assistance Division, Ahmedou El Becaye Seck, and Force Commander, General Fernand Amoussou, presented the mission’s plan to help Ivorians organise the elections within the deadline. 17 July 2008The top United Nations official in Côte d’Ivoire has called for the identification process ahead of November’s presidential election to be launched quickly, and reaffirmed the world body’s pledge to assist the West African nation conduct the long-delayed polls.