Cease Fire: Ouagadougou Political Agreement (OPA)

OUAGADOUGOU POLITICAL AGREEMENT 

VI. Measures to promote national reconciliation, peace, security and the free movement of people and goods

6.2. Zone of confidence

6.2.1. In order to allow the free movement of people and goods, the two Parties to the direct dialogue agree to request the impartial forces of Licorne and UNOCI to dismantle the zone of confidence, in accordance with paragraph A.4 of the document on Management of the zone of confidence, referred to as Code 14.

6.2.2. On a transitional basis, an imaginary line to be referred to as the green line, going from east to west along the median line of the zone of confidence, shall be established and punctuated by observation posts situated on the main infiltration routes. The observation posts shall be occupied by the impartial forces and their number shall be reduced by half every two months until all of them are removed.

6.2.3. Joint units comprised of equal numbers of FAFN and FDS members and with responsibility for conducting police and security missions shall be deployed in the zone of confidence. These units shall be abolished when the process of reform and restructuring of the army is complete.

6.6. Code of conduct

In view of the urgent need to restore calm and integrity to public life, to create a new political environment in ô d'Ivoire and to eschew any partisan and demagogic interpretation of the present Agreement, the Parties pledge to observe a code of conduct.

6.6.1. The Parties undertake to organize a vast information and public awareness campaign targeted to the population of Côte d'Ivoire to seek their full support for the peace and national reconciliation process.

6.6.2. The Parties pledge to refrain from any propaganda, particularly in the media, that is likely to undermine the spirit of national cohesion and unity. They appeal to the national and international press for their constructive support in promoting peace and a spirit of tolerance.

6.6.3. The Parties pledge to maintain a spirit of permanent dialogue based on trust in each other, to refrain from any belligerent and offensive attitude and to call upon their respective supporters to conduct themselves with respect and decorum.

6.6.4. The Parties agree to combine their efforts aimed at promoting Republican ethics and morality within their respective forces, with respect for human dignity and fundamental rights. The Parties pledge to encourage their respective forces to work together with mutual understanding.

6.6.5. The Parties pledge to refrain from any use of civil society and trade union organizations that is abusive and contrary to the spirit of the present Agreement.

Implementation History

2007

Intermediate Implementation

The Ouagadougou Political Agreement had two specific provisions related to the ceasefire: a confidence zone and a code of conduct. Under the confidence zone provision, parties agreed to request the impartial forces of Licorne and the United Nations Operation in Côte d'Ivoire (UNOCI) to dismantle the zone of confidence, establish an imaginary green line going from east to west along the median line of the zone of confidence, and deploy joint units comprised of equal numbers of FAFN and Defence and Security Forces (FDS) members. In the code of conduct, parties agreed to refrain from any belligerent and offensive attitude and engage in public awareness campaigns in support of the peace process.

Meaningful progress was made in terms of implementing provisions related to the ceasefire. Parties met the timeline on dismantling the confidence zone, which was established by an agreement on 31 July 2005. The chief of staff of FAFN and FDS and force commanders of UNOCI and Licorne signed an accord on 11 April 2007, which provided the legal basis for the dismantling of the zone of confidence.1 A confidence zone, which divided Ivory Coast between the government-held and the rebel-held areas, finally started to be dismantled on 16 April 2007. The zone of confidence ceased to exist beginning 15 September 2007.2 Out of 17 checkpoints established by UNOIC, eight checkpoints were dismantled by 30 November 2007.3 The UNOCI and Licorne assisted in drawing an imaginary green line for the deployment of joint units. Joint units comprising equal number of FAFN and FDS were deployed at Bangolo and Zeale areas by 30 April 2007.4

State media was used to unite the divided country and promote reconciliation through its revamped programs.5 As a way to engage in a public awareness campaign in support of the peace process, rebels met with supporters of the President for the first time on 21 April 2007.6

A small group of men hiding near the runway attacked Prime Minister Guillaume Soro’s airplane. He survived the attack. At least four people were killed and more than 10 were wounded.7 This, however, did not derail the parties’ commitment to the ceasefire. President Gbagbo condemned the attack and stressed the importance of the peace process in his nationally televised address.8 On 27 December, an attack on Forces Nouvelles personnel took place in Bouke. Sergeant Ibrahim Coulibaly, a former member of Forces Nouvelles, was allegedly involved in the attack. Eighteen arrests were made in the Bouake area in connection with the attack, which resulted in several deaths.9 This, however, did not derail the process.

  • 1. “Thirteenth progress report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire,” United Nations Security Council (S/2007/275), May 14, 2007.
  • 2. “UN peacekeepers dismantle Ivory Coast buffer zone,” Agence France Presse, September 17, 2007.
  • 3. “UN peacekeepers continue redeploying in Ivory Coast,” Agence France Presse, December 8, 2007.
  • 4. “Thirteenth progress report of the Secretary-General.”
  • 5. “Ivory Coast broadcaster vows objective coverage,” Agence France Presse, April 2, 2007.
  • 6. “A News: Ivory Coast Rebels, ‘Patriots’’ meet as Symbol of Unity,” US Fed News, April 21, 2007.
  • 7. “Ivory Coast PM escapes rocket attack,” Agence France Presse, June 29, 2007.
  • 8. “Fourteenth progress report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire,” United Nations Security Council (S/2007/593), October 1, 2007.
  • 9. “Sixteenth progress report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire,” United Nations Security Council (S/2008/250), April 15, 2008.
2008

Intermediate Implementation

The parties’ commitment to the ceasefire remained intact. Sergeant Ibrahim Coulibaly, a former member of Forces Nouvelles, and two French nationals were arrested for plotting a coup. In connection with this incident, an international arrest warrant was issued against Mr. Coulibaly.10 A change in the rebels’ command structure led to skirmishes in the North, particularly in Seguela and Bouake. Zacharia Kone, a rebel commander in Seguela, was dismissed for not showing up at a pre-disarmament ceremony.11 Eight were killed in ethnic clashes in the north of the country due to disputes over land issues.12 While some violence occurred on issues related to voter registration and land disputes, as well as incidents involving demonstrations by disgruntled personnel from FAFN and FDS due to payment issues, the security situation remained relatively stable.13

  • 10. “Sixteenth progress report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire,” United Nations Security Council (S/2008/250), April 15, 2008.
  • 11. “Voa News: Rebel Mutiny Ends in Ivory Coast, Demands Not Met,” US Fed News, June 30, 2008.
  • 12. “Eight Killed in Ivory Coast Ethnic Clashes,” Agency France Presse, September 8, 2008.
  • 13. “Eighteenth progress report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire,” United Nations Security Council (S/2008/645), October 13, 2008.
2009

Intermediate Implementation

While the free movement of people, goods, and service was unhindered, the security situation remained very fragile due to unresolved issues related to the disarmament of Forces Nouvelles and pro-government militias. The full deployment of joint units was not achieved due to the Integrated Command Center’s lack in capacity.14 As a matter of fact, the United Nations experts had warned of a possible escalation of violence as parties were rearming in the north, notwithstanding an arms embargo.15 However, there were no reports of violations of the ceasefire provision of the accord.

  • 14. “Twenty-second progress report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire,” United Security Council (S/2009/495), September 29, 2009.
  • 15. “Violence may escalate in Ivory Coast as parties rearm: UN experts,” Agence France Presse, April 19, 2009.
2010

Minimum Implementation

While both sides continued to respect the ceasefire provisions of the accord, the overall security situation was very fragile around election time. Prior to elections, those who were engaged in sustained negotiations remained concerned about the role of media in fanning tensions and the ruling party’s monopoly of state-owned media.16 Multi-party elections were held on 31 October in a mostly free and fair manner. Prior to the holding of elections, many demobilized combatants threatened to obstruct elections on issues related to outstanding demobilization allowances. Militia groups also obstructed political parties’ activities. After elections, targeted violence against certain ethnic groups in the Daloa area took place.17

The security scenario changed after runoff elections on 28 November. The Chair of the Independent Electoral Commission, Mr. Youssouf Bakayoko, announced the result, with opposition candidate Alassane Ouattara receiving 54.10 percent of the vote and the sitting President Laurent Gbagbo receiving 45.90 percent. The election result, however, was nullified by the President of the Constitutional Council, Mr. Paul Yao, on the ground that the commission did not announce the provisional results by the specified deadline. On 3 December, the Constitutional Council declared Laurent Gbagbo the winner with 51.45 percent of the vote and Alassane Ouattara the loser with 48.55 percent, with a turnout of 71.28 percent. Initially, a turnout of 81 percent was reported.18 Following disputed elections, Prime Minister Guillaume Soro submitted his resignation to Alassane Ouattara. Then, Alassane Ouattara re-appointed Mr. Soro as Prime Minister. Mr. Soro then appointed a 13-member cabinet on 5 December 2010. On 7 December 2010, Laurent Gbagbo also appointed his own government.19 The international community backed Alassane Ouattara, but nevertheless, the security situation deteriorated precipitously. On 13 December 2010, troops loyal to Laurent Gbagbo were deployed around the hotel that housed Alassane Ouattara. Combatants from New Forces (FN) along with UN peacekeepers were in a defensive posture against the troops loyal to Gbagbo.20 Deadly clashes broke out on 16 December as troops loyal to Laurent Gbagbo opened fire on a march organized by supporters of President-elect Alassane Ouattara.21 As violence broke out between supporters from both sides, President Laurent Gbagbo ordered U.N. peacekeeping forces to withdraw from Ivory Coast, an order which was rejected by UNOCI.22

  • 16. “Twenty-fourth report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire,” United Nations Security Council (S/2010/245), May 20, 2010.
  • 17. “Twenty-sixth progress report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire,” United Nations Security Council (S/2010/600), November 23, 2010.
  • 18. “Twenty-seventh progress report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire,” United Nations Security Council (S/2011/211), March 30, 2011.
  • 19. “Twenty-seventh progress report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire,” United Nations Security Council (S/2011/211), March 30, 2011.
  • 20. “Ivory Coast troops move in on seat of Ouattara 'government',” Agence France Presse, December 13, 2010.
  • 21. “Deadly Clashes Erupt In Ivory Coast Amidst Post-Poll Tensions,” RTT News, December 16, 2010.
  • 22. “UN Forces rejects order to quit Ivory Coast,” Agency France Presse, December 19, 2010.
2011

Minimum Implementation

A full scale conflict resumed in Ivory Coast. Civilians were caught in the middle as fighting between forces that recognized Alassane Ouattara as President clashed with forces loyal to Laurent Gbagbo. It was reported that forces loyal to Alassane Ouattara took control of the capital city, Abidjan, on 31 March 2011. An estimated 800 people were killed.23 The UN Security Council demanded an immediate halt to escalating violence and imposed sanctions on Gbagbo.24 The US had already imposed sanctions on Gbagbo in December 2010.25

The violent conflict was put to rest once the Forces Républicaines de Côte d’Ivoire (FRCI), formerly the Forces Nouvelles, arrested Mr. Gbagbo, his wife, and members of his family, staff, and cabinet in a bunker in the presidential residence. The arrests took place on 11 April. On 1 May, President Alassane Ouattara announced the establishment of the Dialogue, Truth and Reconciliation Commission.26

  • 23. “Ivory Coast braces for final clash; 800 killed in first town conquered by forces for elected leader,” The Toronto Star, April 19, 2011.
  • 24. “Pro-Ouattara forces seize Ivory Coast capital,” Associated Press, March 31, 2011.
  • 25. “Twenty-seventh progress report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire,” United Nations Security Council (S/2011/211), March 30, 2011.
  • 26. “Twenty-eighth report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire,” United Nations Security Council (S/2011/387), June 24, 2011.
2012

Minimum Implementation

While full-fledged armed violence abated, violent incidents and confrontations were reported between FRCI elements and local populations. It was also reported that forces loyal to Gbagbo were rearming in Liberia for a possible attack.27

  • 27. “Thirtieth progress report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire,” United Nations Security Council (S/2012/508), June 29, 2012.
2013

Full Implementation

 No ceasefire violation reported.

2014

Full Implementation

No ceasefire violation reported.

2015

Full Implementation

No ceasefire violation reported.