*”We are very close to a civil war in Abidjan,”* France’s envoy to the UN, Gérard Araud, told reporters as the Security Council began considering a draft resolution on Cote d’Ivoire presented by France and Nigeria.
Araud said the resolution calls for the departure of incumbent president Laurent Gbagbo, for an end to violence against civilians – especially the use of heavy weapons in Abidjan – and for sanctions against Gbagbo and his inner circle. Sanctions would particularly target five Gbagbo allies, although Araud did not give their names.
Additionally, he said, the resolution notes the existence of the International Criminal Court and the High Commissioner on Human Rights to drive home the point that the international community is *”not going to forget what [Gbagbo and his allies] are doing.”*
Araud said there had been assurances in recent days that the UN Operation in Cote d’Ivoire (Onuci) was likely to act more robustly in the future in Cote d’Ivoire and it seemed that this had already begun. He said this week Onuci forces shot back when under attack.
Araud also said Onuci’s mandate was already strong and it was a matter of implementation. He said a new force commander had recently arrived in Cote d’Ivoire and *”decisions so far are very positive.”*
The political stand-off in Cote d’Ivoire has escalated as Gbagbo refuses to cede power to Alassane Ouattara who won a run-off vote in November that the UN certified.