Strengthen Reconciliation - Annan Urges I. Coast

Strengthen Reconciliation - Annan Urges I. Coast

By Benjamin B.Tegbeh, Abidjan Correspondent

Former UN Secretary General and Nobel Peace laureate Kofi Annan, who is also chairs The Elders, has welcomed what appears as the progress achieved in Côte d'Ivoire since the post-election crisis of 2010-2011.

After meeting with stakeholders representing the diversity of the political class and the Ivorian civil society, he acknowledged that many challenges remain before the 2015 presidential elections.

L-R: Former UN SG Kofi Annan and Ivorian President Alhassan Ouattara

Noting the resumption of economic development and the improvement of security conditions, Annan said he was impressed by the determination of Ivorian President Alhassan Ouattara and his government to put the country back on track.

"I hope that all citizens will enjoy the growth, especially unemployed of youths," Annan noted.

He urged Ivoirians to redouble their efforts towards reconciliation which is believed to be ongoing since the Ouattara led government came to power in 2011.

The former UN’s boss met with many stakeholders including the Chairman of the Ivorian Truth and Reconciliation Commission in the Ivorian capital, Abidjan, during his two-day visit.

Annan asserted, "We’ve heard the disappointment of the reconciliation but it is a long-term process and not a one-time event. "Everyone must be committed to ensuring its success the government and the opposition must realize that compromises are necessary," he added.


Mr. Annan further said that the past can’t be forgotten, "but I encourage my sisters and brothers to work together to turn towards the future."


"All and all have a responsibility to participate in the construction of Côte d'Ivoire, shown stability and exclude no one," Annan said.

He also said admonished Ivorians that there are no doubt those plural societies can be difficult to govern adequate laws and institutions are needed to meet the needs and interests that may seem contradictory to ensure the protection of individual rights.

Stressing that reconciliation and justice are closely linked, Annan acknowledged the challenges faced by the judicial system in Ivory Coast after a decade of conflict.

Mr. Annan called on the Ivorian government to persevere in strengthening the judicial system.

"All those who have committed crimes against humanity must be brought to justice impartially and without complacency," he noted.

Annan said he was troubled by recent allegations of some African countries against the International Criminal Court (ICC), presenting it as targeting Africa.

"Our first concern must be to get justice for the victims, the voiceless and the poor the former United Nations head stressed. This is not Africa that is on trial at the ICC, it is individuals and the culture of impunity," said Annan.

He urged all parties in Côte d'Ivoire to work in the organization of peaceful elections scheduled for 2015.

"The preparation of these elections must begin now because the future is now" he added.

"We can’t afford to let the next election be the source of a new conflict everyone must learn from the past to ensure that the forthcoming elections are conducted with integrity errors."

Annan also stressed the need to address the root causes of the Ivorian civil conflict which destroyed several lives properties.

At the same time Mr. Annan has welcomed the ongoing efforts to accelerate the disarmament and reintegration of former combatants and called on the international community to lend its support to this crucial step in the transition to security and reconciliation.

This is the third visit of Kofi Annan in Côte d'Ivoire since he left the post of Secretary General of the United Nations.

In May 2011, he led a delegation of Elders also including Mary Robinson and Desmond Tutu, to encourage reconciliation and healing after four months of post-election violence in which an estimated 3,000 deaths and one million displaced.