January 19, 2011 / 4:21 PM / in 8 years

UPDATE 1-UN council approves more troops for Ivory Coast

(Adds details, background, diplomats)

UNITED NATIONS, Jan 19 (Reuters) - The U.N. Security Council on Wednesday overcame Russian objections and unanimously agreed to send 2,000 additional peacekeepers to Ivory Coast, where U.N. troops have been coming under attack.

Russia, which had expressed reservations about the draft resolution calling for the deployment of additional blue-helmeted peacekeepers to the world’s top cocoa grower, joined the other 14 council members and supported the measure.

The resolution expressed “deep concern over the continued violence and human rights violations” triggered by a disputed presidential election, including attacks against United Nations peacekeepers and civilians.

The resolution said those responsible for crimes against U.N. personnel and civilians must be held accountable.

It also warned of the council’s “readiness to impose measures, including targeted sanctions against those who obstruct the work of UNOCI.”

Alassane Ouattara is widely recognized by Western and African governments as president-elect of Ivory Coast after the electoral commission proclaimed him winner of the Nov. 28 presidential poll. The results were certified by the U.N. mission but rejected by incumbent Laurent Gbagbo.

An earlier draft of the U.N. resolution, obtained by Reuters, had welcomed declarations of the African Union and west African regional organization ECOWAS recognizing Ouattara as president. That language on Ouattara was removed after Russia objected.

The final version approved by the council mentions neither Ouattara nor Gbagbo by name.

Russia also had objected to the idea that Ouattara’s recently appointed U.N. ambassador, Youssoufou Bamba, would address the council after the resolution was approved in keeping with standard U.N. practice, diplomats said.

Neither Bamba nor any other envoys addressed the council after the resolution passed.

The United Nations estimates at least 247 people have been killed since the dispute began. (Reporting by Louis Charbonneau; Editing by Sandra Maler and Bill Trott)

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