UNITED NATIONS, Oct 15 (Reuters) - The U.N. Security Council renewed on Friday arms, financial and travel sanctions on the Ivory Coast for six months, as well as a ban on trade in rough diamonds from the West African country.
But the council also pledged in a resolution adopted unanimously by all 15 members to review the sanctions within three months as soon as the world’s top cocoa producer holds “open, free, fair and transparent” presidential elections.
A failed 2002 rebellion against President Laurent Gbagbo split the country into a rebel north and government-run south, triggering a crisis that scared investment from what was once the region’s star economy.
Elections on Oct. 31 are meant to resolve the crisis and re-unify the country. They are five years overdue, but look increasingly likely to happen at last, now that disputes over voter registration and rebel disarmament have been resolved.
A poll obtained by Reuters on Thursday showed that Gbagbo is the most popular candidate, with 46 percent of voters intending to vote for him in the first round. [ID:nLDE69D2FS]
The U.N. arms embargo was imposed in 2004 over violations of a 2003 cease-fire between the government and the rebels. A U.N. report this week said both sides have continued re-arming, despite hopes that the election will reunite the country. (Reporting by Louis Charbonneau; Editing by Doina Chiacu)