27 May 2010The Security Council today voted to extend for one month the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI), and the French forces supporting it, while the 15-member body continues to consider possible revisions to the mission’s mandate. The Security Council today voted to extend for one month the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI), and the French forces supporting it, while the 15-member body continues to consider possible revisions to the mission’s mandate. The Council took this decision “considering the need to examine thoroughly” the recommendations for a revised mandate set out by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in his latest report, according to the unanimously adopted resolution.UNOCI was established in 2004 by the Council to facilitate the peace process in the West African nation, which became split by civil war in 2002 into a rebel-held north and Government-controlled south.The mission has been providing logistical and technical assistance for the preparations for the country’s presidential elections, which were supposed to have been held as far back as 2005 but have been repeatedly postponed, most recently from March.While preparations for the polls were on track up until late last year, they were interrupted in January. Political tensions began to mount after voter registration was suspended due to violence and President Laurent Gbagbo dissolved the Government and the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) in February. A new Government and Electoral Commission have since been established, but the electoral process remains stalled as differences persist on how to tackle the issue of fraud and resume the interrupted appeals process on the provisional voters list.In his report, Mr. Ban recommended maintaining UNOCI until the end of the year – with the same current total strength of its military and police components – “in order to give Côte d’Ivoire a chance to walk the final mile to the elections with the full support of the United Nations.” He also recommended an adjustment of the mission’s mandate to allow it to focus on helping the parties to implement the remaining priority tasks in the peace process, including those related to elections, disarmament and all aspects of the reunification of the country.