Ivory Coast PM Welcomes U.N. Powers
Nov. 09, 2006
ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast (AP) _ The prime minister of Ivory Coast on Wednesday said he welcomed a U.N. resolution that extends his power at the expense of the country's president, setting up a potential clash with his rival in the war-divided African nation.
Prime Minister Charles Konan Banny's comments over state television were the first he made since the U.N. Security Council last week endorsed an African Union decision extending the government's mandate for a year and curbing President Laurent Gbagbo's powers.
Under the plan, Banny is supposed to take charge of the security forces and will have the power to govern by decree if necessary.
The U.N. resolution ``has defined the roles of each and everyone. On my part, I intend to take all my responsibilities and fully carry out the mission that I have been charged with,'' Banny said.
Gbagbo, however, staunchly opposes any curbs on his power and said he will not apply any clauses in the resolution he believes contradict the constitution.
Ivory Coast, the world's top cocoa producer, has been split into a rebel-held north and a government-run south since rebels failed to topple Gbagbo in a 2002 coup. About 10,000 U.N. and French forces are deployed in the West African nation, many of them patrolling a buffer zone that separates the two sides.
Banny was appointed last year after mediators persuaded both warring factions to accept him. He had already taken over some executive powers from Gbagbo, but he was seen as having a weak mandate and has failed to persuade all parties to implement key parts of the peace deal.
The U.N. resolution charges Banny with organizing disarmament and voter registration, restoring state authority throughout the country, and preparing twice-delayed, presidential elections which are seen as crucial to restoring peace before a November 2007 deadline.
Banny is also charged with restructuring the army. He said he would set up a working group with military officials to examine how this should be done.