The United Nations Security Council on Thursday lifted a 12-year-old arms embargo on Ivory Coast and renewed the mandate of its peacekeeping mission in the West African country for a final year.
The embargo was imposed in 2004 after the 2002-2003 civil war in that country.
The French Ambassador to the UN, Francois Delattre told the Council that Ivory Coast’s example proves that “security endeavours can attain their ends when assisting a country in extracting itself from a crisis”.
Two French-drafted resolutions to lift the arms embargo as well as parts of asset freezes and travel bans on six people, were unanimously adopted by the 15-member council.
Those affected by the ban include the country’s former president Laurent Gbagbo and his wife, both of whom are standing trial for the post 2010-2011 election violence as well as Charles Ble Goude, the leader of the Young Patriots who is also currently standing trial at the Hague for post-election violence.
The Security Council in 2014 eased the arms embargo on Ivory Coast and lifted a ban on the diamond trade in the country.
Under the resolution, UN peacekeepers deployed in 2004 will leave the Ivory Coast by the end of April 2017 with a complete closure of the mission expected to happen within two months thereafter.
The mission is expected to begin cutting down its numbers by August this year from the current 4,000 to about 2,000.
Ivory Coast’s ambassador to the UN, Claude Bouah-Kamon thanked the countries that contributed troops to the mission, which he said was “perfectly successful” in achieving its goals, reported AFP.
He however said his country was mindful of the important task ahead with the planned departure of the UN mission.