India supports UN sanctions against Cote d’Ivoire


United Nations : India Thursday supported the United Nation Security Council’s (UNSC) resolution imposing targeted sanctions on Cote d’Ivoire President Laurent Gbagbo and his close aides for refusing to give up power, but warned that peacekeepers should not be used as “instruments of regime change”.

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On Wednesday, the UNSC adopted a resolution at 15-0 in favour of sanctions against Gbagbo, his wife and and aides for refusing to quit despite losing the November 2010 presidential elections to Alassane Ouattara.

The country was plunged into violence as fighting broke out between the pro-Ouattara and pro-Gbagbo fighters in the French-speaking west African nation.

India’s permanent representative to UN Hardeep Singh Puri said New Delhi was “seriously concerned” at the situation in the African nation and noted that it had supported all efforts to peacefully resolve the problem.

“To that end, we have supported the efforts of the ECOWAS (a regional west African body) and African Union to find a political solution leading to restoration of democracy and will of the Ivoirian people at the earliest. With that objective in mind, we have voted in favour of the resolution today (Thursday),” Puri said.

He added that the India also wanted to registered “growing concern” at the tendency to “hurry the process of adopting resolutions”.

“We think that there should be enough time for deliberations and consultations with all concerned countries,” said Puri.

He felt that the troop contributing countries should be first consulted on the mandate of UN peacekeepers.

“Such consultations are necessary not only for well considered decisions but also for an effective implementation of the mandate.”

Puri also asserted the UN peacekeepers had to draw their mandate from the relevant resolutions of UNSC. “They cannot be made instruments of regime change,” he said.

He urged all parties to respect the “military impartiality” of the 12,000-strong United Nations Operation in Cote d’Ivoire (UNOCI).

On the various allegations of serious crime against civilians, Puri said there should not be “prior presumption” and should be investigated on a case-by-case basis by the “competent national bodies and further action taken as per relevant laws”.

The UNSC resolution came after the African Union Peace and Security Council summit March 10 reaffirmed its recognition of election of Ouattara as the president of Côte d’Ivoire.