RAPAPORT… The United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) began transporting provisional voters lists to polling stations across the country in preparation for the country’s upcoming presidential election. Cote d’Ivoire’s Independent Electoral Commission provided voter names to Young-Jin Choi, the head of UNOCI, who called the preparations an important step in reaching the end of the crisis that has divided the country since 2002.
The presidential election is planned for November 29, following four years of repeated postponements, although UN officials have voiced concern that this date could be pushed back, as well. Choi said he hoped that the remaining tasks in the electoral process, which include the printing and distribution of voter cards, would be completed quickly.
On October 29, the UN Security Council extended diamond sanctions on Côte d’Ivoire through October 2010, but pledged to review the measure again no later than three months after a free, fair and transparent presidential election is held. A group of UN experts recently found an absence of effective border controls in the country, enabling the rough diamond trade to continue from Côte d’Ivoire and extend almost seamlessly into Burkina Faso and Mali. There was additional concern that rough diamonds were being illegally exported through Guinea and Liberia.