FINAL COMMUNIQUE OF THE HIGH-LEVEL MEETING BETWEEN THE GOVERNMENTS OF LIBERIA AND COTE D’IVOIRE
OF THE HIGH-LEVEL MEETING BETWEEN
THE GOVERNMENTS OF LIBERIA AND COTE D’IVOIRE, AND SUPPORTED BY THE UN MISSION IN LIBERIA (UNMIL) AND THE UN OPERATIONS IN COTE D’IVOIRE (UNOCI)
JUNE 13, 2012, ABIDJAN
A Four-Party Meeting between representatives of the Governments of Liberia and Cote d’Ivoire, the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) and the UN Operations in Cote d’Ivoire (UNOCI) was held in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, on June 13, 2012 at the Ivorian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The Four-Party Meeting was held against the background of recent attacks on 8 June against officers of UNOCI inside Cote d’Ivoire, in which 7 military personnel of UNOCI were killed; and related attacks in Cote d’Ivoire during which some 10 civilians and one Ivorian Military officer were also killed.
The meeting is a sequel to a High Level Ministerial session held also in Abidjan on 2 May 2012 which discussed security matters along the two countries’ borders, the situation of ex-combatants operating on either sides of the border, and actions to reactivate the Joint Commission between Liberia and Cote d’Ivoire.
The meeting was attended by the following officials:
1. The Minister of State and Foreign Affairs of Cote d’Ivoire
2. The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Liberia
3. The Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary General in Liberia (UNMIL) and Acting Special Representative
4. The Special Representative of the UN Secretary General in Cote d’Ivoire (UNOCI).
The Meeting was also attended by:
On the Ivorian side:
· The Minister of State, Minister of Home Affairs
· The Minister with the President in Charge of Defense
· The Minister of Justice in Charge of Justice.
· Director General of the National Police
· Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of Ivory
· An others
On the Liberian side:
· The Minister of Internal Affairs
· The Acting Minister of Justice
· The Advisor to the President on National Security
· The Commanding Officer of the Armed Forces of Liberia
· The Inspector General of Police
· The Commissioner of the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization
· And others
The complete list of attendees is attached in Annex to this Communiqué.
Separate remarks were made by the Ministers of State of Cote d’Ivoire, H.E Daniel Kablan Duncan, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Liberia, H.E Augustine Kpehe Ngafuan, to mark the opening of the working meeting.
H.E. Daniel Kablan Duncan recalled the conclusions of the high-level meeting of 2 May 2012 in Abidjan, and emphasized the need to revive the initiative for coordinated security operations on each side of the border, with the support of the UN Missions in Liberia and Cote d’Ivoire. He further highlighted the commitment of Heads of States, H.E. Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of the Republic of Liberia, and H.E. Allasane Ouattara, President of the Republic of Cote d’Ivoire, toward peace and stability in the region which will be reinforced at the upcoming summit of Heads of States of the Mano River Union. He called on participants to stand for a moment of silence in honor of those killed.
For his part, H. E. Augustine K. Ngafuan recounted the concrete actions already taken by the Government of Liberia following agreements reached in the meeting of 2 May 2012 in Cote d’Ivoire. H.E. Ngafuan further conveyed his government’s regrets to the sisterly countries of Cote d’Ivoire, Niger, and to the UN Family for the incident of 8 June 2012. He also conveyed deep condolences of H.E. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to the families of those killed, expressing Her Excellency’s commitment to work with Cote d’Ivoire and the UN for a permanent solution to the situation. The Liberian Foreign Minister also pointed out that a key objective of the meeting is to come up with a strategy to enhance border security and protection of civilians in light of the recent incidents along the borders.
The SRSG of the UNOCI, Albert Koenders, also made remarks on behalf of the two United Nations missions, UNOCI and UNMIL. He emphasized the need for swift, measured and coordinated initiatives by the four parties to address the protection of civilians, the security of the border, and the investment in reconciliation. Mr. Koenders further expressed concerns over the displacements of populations, particularly women and children, which have been triggered by the attacks, and noted that the humanitarian coordinators in both countries with the support of OCHA and relevant stakeholders are coordinating appropriate humanitarian responses.
Discussions were held in 4 sub-committees, namely Security and Intelligence, Justice, Internal Affairs/Home Security; and Foreign Affairs, and centered on the below four major issues:
1. Addressing the fragile security situation along the Liberian-Ivorian border in light of recent attacks against forces of UNOCI (Security and Intelligence Sub-committee);
2. Matters related to the extradition of Ivorian combatants who fled into Liberia and were arrested, as well as the turnover of vehicles confiscated from Cote d’Ivoire and taken into Liberia (Justice Sub-committee);
3. Matters of cooperation, dialogue, reconciliation and information exchange amongst chiefs and communities along the border (Internal Affairs/Home Security Sub-Committee);
4. Actions to reactivate the Joint Commission of the Ivorian-Liberian Cooperation (Foreign Affairs Sub-committee).
Security and Intelligence Sub-Committee: On Actions to Address the Fragile Security Situation along the Liberian-Ivorian Border In Light of Recent Attacks against Forces Of UNOCI
· The two Governments and the two United Nations Missions discussed on their respective measures taken so far in order to intensify their patrols in the border areas. In support of the efforts of the Governments of Liberia and Côte d’Ivoire, UNMIL and UNOCI agreed to exercise maximum vigilance and to intensify their activities in the border area, in order to protect the citizens. Air assets are currently in full use to complement the ground patrols on each side of the border, and will continue. The two Missions have been in constant touch to coordinate their response, and both have taken immediate measures, including deploying additional elements to their respective areas along the common Ivorian-Liberian border, a highly densely forested and hostile terrain, in order to secure the border and protect citizens.
· The Parties acknowledged that Liberia has taken steps to secure its territories by the temporary closure of its borders with Cote d’Ivoire, and a temporary suspension of alluvial mining activities in all areas along the common border.
· The participants of the Sub-committee stressed that these tragic events have demonstrated the need to continue to reinforce the cooperation between the two neighboring countries, Liberia and Côte d’Ivoire, supported by their two partners, UNMIL and UNOCI, for the consolidation of peace in the sub-region.
· The Governments of Liberia and Cote D’Ivoire reiterated their commitment to working closely to stabilize the border area with an aim to render it peaceful and stable for sustainable development.
· The Parties agreed to reinforce their respective Militaries and Police on each side of the borders.
· The Parties agreed to better collaboration and coordination between the Forces through exchange of information and common actions
· The Parties agreed to take steps towards strengthening relationship between the security forces and the populations on each side of the border through civilian-military activities and better communications.
Justice Sub-Committee: On Matters Related to the Extradition Of Ivorian Combatants who Fled into Liberia and were Arrested, as well as Turnover of Vehicles Confiscated from Ivoirians and Taken into Liberia
· The two Ministers in Charge of Justice met within the framework of strengthening their judicial cooperation. The main subject of this meeting concerned the judicial procedures against the Ivoirians who allegedly have participated in crimes related to the post-electoral crisis and the issue of insecurity at the Ivorian-Liberian border.
· The Acting Minister of Justice of Liberia stated that the extradition hearing will be held on Thursday June 21st, 2012. In case of favorable approval of the Liberian Court regarding the extradition, the detainees would be immediately turned over to Ivorian authorities according to the terms of the bilateral treaty on extradition.
· On the rights of the people who have allegedly committed crimes in Cote d’Ivoire, and who are living in Refugees camps in Liberia, the Parties agreed that international conventions on this point will be strictly respected.
· The two Ministers agreed that although 41 Ivoirians are already detained and targeted by the extradition procedure, this list is not exhaustive and other people could be added.
· To conclude, the Ivorian Minister of Justice thanked the audience and particularly her counterpart for his precious collaboration and asked for his help for the success of the judicial trip of Ivorian judges which will take place from June 15th to 1st July 2012.
· As regards the turnover of confiscated vehicles, Ivorian authorities acknowledged with appreciation the final turnover of the keys to the six (6) vehicles by the Liberian Authorities to the Ivorian Ambassador accredited to Monrovia.
Internal Affairs/Home Security Sub-committee: On Matters of Cooperation, Dialogue, Reconciliation and Information Exchange amongst Traditional Chiefs and their Communities along the Border
· In furtherance of the parties’ desire to transform the areas along their common border into a zone of peace, reconciliation and development, they agreed that a Joint Council of Chiefs and Elders meeting involving the ethnic communities along their common border be held no later than the second week of September 2012 at a venue to be decided by the parties through diplomatic channels. The United Nations will assist the two parties in the preparation and execution of this joint initiative.
Foreign Affairs Sub-Committee: On Actions to Reactivate the Joint Commission Of The Ivorian-Liberian Cooperation
· The Government officials from Liberia and Côte d’Ivoire, and the heads of United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) and Côte D’Ivoire (UNOCI) have agreed to effective protection of civilians, support to the humanitarian activities; to strengthen border security and national reconciliation and peace building in Côte d’Ivoire and Liberia are, and should remain, at the top of their common priorities.
· Given the good quality of bilateral relations between Liberia and Cote d’Ivoire, the Parties agreed that the next Joint Commission meeting of the Parties will be held within the last quarter of 2012. As such Cote d’Ivoire will transmit to the Liberian Authorities within a period of two months all existing agreements between the two Parties, and a proposal of new cooperation and agreements to be negotiated and signed by the two countries.
Abidjan, June 13, 2012
Republic of Cote d’Ivoire Republic of Liberia
Minister of State Minister of Foreign Affairs
Minister of Foreign Affairs
H.E. Daniel Kablan DUNCAN H.E. Augustine Kpehe NGAFUAN
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