Ivory Coast wants surveillance drones

April 17, 2013 at 10:01 AM

UNITED NATIONS, April 17 (UPI) -- If peacekeepers leave Ivory Coast, national protection should be bolstered by the use of surveillance drones, the Ivorian envoy to the United Nations said.

Ivory Coast is working to recover from conflict that erupted after 2010 elections meant to unite a country divided by war. Former President Laurent Gbagbo is facing trial at The Hague for alleged crimes committed during the post-election crisis. Rights groups said supporters of President Alassane Ouattara may be responsible for crimes as well.

Fighting along the border with Liberia have threatened Ivorian stability. The U.N. peacekeeping force in Ivory Coast, known by its French initials UNOCI, is scheduled in July to cuts its deployment by one battalion to 8,837.

Ivorian Ambassador to the United Nations Youssoufou Bamba told the U.N. Security Council he viewed the current security situation as good.

"If the planned reductions in blue helmets were implemented, however, the drawdown should be accompanied by more resources, such as surveillance drones in the border area with Liberia," he said.

Assistant U.N. Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Edmond Mulet said the overall assessment wasn't as bright, however.

"The overall progress notwithstanding, Ivory Coast continues to face significant threats to its peace and security," he said.

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