UN council embraces Ivory Coast sanctions deadline
UN Security Council members reached broad agreement on Tuesday on a resolution that would give Ivory Coast's government and rebels until Dec. 1 to implement a peace deal or face U.N. sanctions, diplomats said.
France compromised on its initial draft resolution -- which would have immediately imposed an arms embargo and other measures -- and agreed to allow a second council vote before sanctions could kick in after China, Pakistan and Russia objected to immediate sanctions, the diplomats said.
Council members predicted the compromise would win the unanimous approval of the 15-nation U.N. body on Wednesday.
In addition to the arms embargo, it calls for a ban on travel and a freeze on "funds and other financial assets" to be imposed against individuals in the Ivory Coast who would be chosen at a later date by a Security Council committee.
Council members embraced the compromise after South African President Thabo Mbeki launched an African Union initiative to help end the violence in the world's top cocoa grower.
They said the Dec. 1 deadline would give Mbeki time to pursue his task and the Ivory Coast government and rebels time to meet their commitments under a French-brokered peace deal.
But Ivory Coast Ambassador Philippe Djangone-Bi said there was "too much hurry on this resolution."
Djangone-Bi also accused France of humiliating his country by bombing its air force and said Paris appeared to favor the rebels holding the country's north over the government.
France, the former colonial power in Ivory Coast, pressed for sanctions after accusing the government of a Saturday bombing raid on the rebel-held city of Bouake that killed nine French peacekeepers and an American civilian.
Paris, concluding the raid on its troops had been deliberate, also launched a swift counterattack that destroyed most of the Ivory Coast air force.
Following the French counterattack, about 700 people have been injured and businesses and homes gutted in three days of violent protests in Ivory Coast targeting French nationals.
An Ivorian minister said on Tuesday that French troops had shot and killed 50 demonstrators in the unrest.
Ivory Coast has been divided and unstable since rebel soldiers seized the north after a failed attempt to oust President Laurent Gbagbo in September 2002.
The conflict was ended by a January 2003 peace agreement. But the ensuing cease-fire has been shaky and both sides have lagged in meeting their commitments under the pact.