Peacekeeping surge extended in Ivory Coast

June 30, 2011 at 11:06 AM
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UNITED NATIONS, June 30 (UPI) -- The deployment of 2,000 troops reinforcing the U.N. peacekeeping force in Ivory Coast was extended because of the risk of violence, the Security Council said.

The United Nations sent 2,000 peacekeepers to Ivory Coast in January to support the 9,000 troops operating under the auspices of the U.N. mission there. The force was sent to protect civilians as a political crisis threatened to push the country toward civil war.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in his latest report in Ivory Coast warned there was a "high risk" that violence would return to the country despite an end to a political stalemate.

The U.N. Security Council in a unanimous decision decided to keep the extra troops in Ivory Coast until July 31.

The international community recognized Alassane Ouattara as the winner of a November presidential election though the incumbent, Laurent Gbagbo, refused to stand down. Gbagbo was eventually apprehended with the help of French peacekeepers in April, but not before more than 1,000 were killed during the political standoff.

Ouattara has since called on the International Criminal Court to probe the violence. Humanitarian groups blame both sides for the atrocities.

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