La Côte d’Ivoire élimine la zone tampon/ Côte d’Ivoire scraps the buffer zone

Selon le Figaro, la Côte d’Ivoire élimine la zone tampon qui séparait le Nord, rebelle, du sud, pro-gouvernemental:

Le président Laurent Gbagbo a proclamé hier la fin de la guerre civile en Côte d’Ivoire, en lançant le début du démantèlement de la « zone de confiance » (ZDC), qui séparait le nord et le sud ivoirien depuis la fin 2002. « Le pays est en train d’être réunifié, la guerre est finie ! », a lancé le chef de l’État en présence de son nouveau premier ministre Guillaume Soro. Il a assuré qu’avec la suppression de la ZDC, « il n’y aura plus d’excuse » pour ne pas organiser des élections générales.

Avec la rétrocession de la zone tampon de 12 000 km² mise en place par l’ONU pour mettre fin aux affrontements et éviter les massacres entre loyalistes et rebelles, la Côte d’Ivoire récupère l’intégrité de son territoire. Les Casques bleus de l’ONU et les soldats français de l’opération Licorne, qui surveillaient la ZDC, seront progressivement remplacés par des unités mixtes composées de soldats ivoiriens des forces loyalistes et rebelles.

Côte d'IvoireAccording to the BBC, Côte d’Ivoire is scrapping the buffer zone that separated the country in two: the rebellious north and the pro-governmental south.

BBC:

Ceremonies have begun to mark the removal of a buffer zone that has divided Ivory Coast for five years.
A bulldozer knocked down a UN military check-point, leading to cheers as vehicles moved freely into the zone.
President Laurent Gbagbo and former rebel leader, Prime Minister Guillaume Soro, jointly inspected government troops and former rebel soldiers.
They will form a joint force to patrol the zone separating the rebel-run north from the loyalist-controlled south.
The 600km-long zone has been patrolled by 11,000 French and UN peacekeepers to keep the rivals apart.
A BBC correspondent says this is portrayed as a major step towards reunifying the country and holding elections.
He says there has been an extraordinary thaw between President Gbagbo and Mr Soro – who was last month named as prime minister, following a peace deal between the two men.
The BBC’s James Copnall in Abidjan says the buffer zone had effectively split Ivory Coast into two countries.
Travelling between the government-controlled south and the rebel-held north has been possible, but it has never been easy thanks to road blocks and mutual suspicion, he says.
Now the confidence zone is to be dismantled, though the process will take several weeks.
The UN and French will withdraw to 17 observation posts and the loyalist and rebel armies will mount joint patrols.
But the man Mr Soro replaced, Charles Konan Banny, has his doubts about the peace process.
He spoke for many Ivorians when he told the BBC he feared both President Gbagbo and Mr Soro had hidden agendas which would compromise the chances of free and fair polls.

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