Côte d’Ivoire continues towards peace one year after the ex-Forces Nouvelles (FN) rebellion leader Guillaume Soro was appointed prime minister by his former adversary, President Laurent Gbagbo, but violence could still return.
The peace agreement signed in Ouagadougou by Laurent Gbagbo and Guillaume Soro on 4 March 2007 is a major turning point in resolving Côte d’Ivoire’s armed conflict but is only a first step in the right direction.
Prime Minister Charles Konan Banny has been unable to implement the roadmap that was to have secured for Côte d’Ivoire a democratically legitimated government. As happened a year ago, there will be no presidential election on the date (currently 31 October 2006) mandated by the UN Security Council.
For the first time in nearly four years, Ivorian political actors seem tempted by peace. International intervention, the exhaustion of a population overwhelmed by its leaders’ bad faith, and a good start by Prime Minister Charles Konan Banny have primed the country for presidential elections, meant to be held before 31 October 2006.
The Ivorian people will not elect a new president, as they should have done, on 30 October 2005. The government of national reconciliation has neither reconciled anyone nor prepared credible elections for the end of President Laurent Gbagbo's constitutional mandate.
The next seven months are a time of great danger for Côte d’Ivoire. Under pressure of an increasingly suspect 15 October 2005 election deadline, its political class may lose control of the cyclical violence it has orchestrated during the on-again, off-again civil war that has divided the country since September 2002.
The January 2003 Linas-Marcoussis Accords have been badly compromised by a lack of good faith and political will. All the key issues – nationality, eligibility for elections, and disarmament – that they attempted to address in order to restore peace and national unity to Côte d’Ivoire and lead it to presidential elections in October 2005 are stalemated.
“The war is not yet over”, an ICG mission to Côte d’Ivoire repeatedly heard in November 2003. There are ominous signs that the Côte d’Ivoire peace process initiated in January 2003 has broken down.