Interview With United Nations Operation in Cote d'Ivoire (UNCOLI) RadioJohn D. Negroponte , Deputy Secretary of State
Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire
November 11, 2007
QUESTION: Good day, Mr. Deputy Secretary. You are on a visit to Cote d’Ivoire. Could we know the context of this visit?
DEPUTY SECRETARY NEGROPONTE: Well, the main reason that I have come here, accompanied by our Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Ms. Jendayi Frazer, is to show our strong support for the Ouagadougou Peace Process. We very much want to see elections take place in this country. We are supportive of that and we also are supportive of the efforts at disarmament and demobilization.
QUESTION: Today, we know that the application of the Ouagadougou Agreement has met with some delay. What do you think of this issue?
DEPUTY SECRETARY NEGROPONTE: I think some progress has been made but there have also been some delays. My message to the President of the country, to the Prime Minister and to the other actors that I have met here has been that it is unarguably in the interest of peace and stability for this country to carry out this agreement as soon as possible.
QUESTION: Concerning the level of contribution to the Peace Process, what is the contribution of the US and in general that of the international community?
DEPUTY SECRETARY NEGROPONTE: Well of course the main assistance that we provide here is the fact there is a strong United Nations presence including a peacekeeping operation. Literarily hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent every year in support of that presence. In addition, there is also important assistance being provided by the international financial institutions such as the World Bank.
QUESTION: Now, to end Mr. Negroponte, today there are public identity hearings -- “audiences foraines” -- taking place. Do you have any comment to make on these public identity hearings. Do you have any information on how they are proceeding?
DEPUTY SECRETARY NEGROPONTE: I understand that work has begun with respect to the “audiences foraines,” the mobile courts. This is very important in terms of establishing the identity and the citizenship of the voters and an indispensable part of developing an expanded electoral list.
QUESTION: Mr. Deputy Secretary, I would like to thank you.
DEPUTY SECRETARY NEGROPONTE: Merci. Thank you very much.
QUESTION: Excellency, what message do you have for the UNOCI authorities who are also involved in the Peace Process?
DEPUTY SECRETARY NEGROPONTE: Well my main message to our friends at the United Nations who are working here in the Cote d’Ivoire is that throughout my diplomatic career, I have found that the UN can make an indispensable contribution to peace and security where it is threatened and I know that they made a very valuable contribution here as well as elsewhere on the African continent.
QUESTION: Thank you.
DEPUTY SECRETARY NEGROPONTE: Merci beaucoup.
QUESTION: Have a bon voyage.
DEPUTY SECRETARY NEGROPONTE: Merci.
Released on November 12, 2007