UN winding down Ivory Coast mission

Civilians walk as Ivorian soldiers block one of the main streets to the "Le plateau" business district in Abidjan. (Issouf Sanogo, AFP)
Civilians walk as Ivorian soldiers block one of the main streets to the "Le plateau" business district in Abidjan. (Issouf Sanogo, AFP)

New York - The United Nations is winding down its peacekeeping mission in Ivory Coast after peaceful elections were held in the West African country, a UN envoy said on Wednesday.

The UN mission in Ivory Coast will be drawn down from its current strength of 5 437 soldiers to 4 000 by March, said Aichatou Mindaoudou.

Talks will begin in February on further troop reductions and the future of the mission, she told the UN Security Council.

The peacekeeping force was deployed in 2004 to help end a civil war that had left the country split in two, with a Muslim-dominated north and predominantly Christian south.

"The peaceful conclusion of the presidential election provides the people of Cote d'Ivoire [Ivory Coast] with the opportunity to turn the page, start a new chapter in their country's history and consolidate the country's achievements towards long-term stability," said the envoy.

President Alassane Ouattara won a second term in office during the vote held in late October.

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