12 February 2010Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon voiced concern today about events in Côte d’Ivoire, where the Government has suspended voter registration ahead of this year’s already delayed presidential election because of rising tensions. “The violence in [the town of] Vavoua and other locations in the country is a cause for serious concern. The mission has called upon the population to remain calm as a solution to the problems encountered by the electoral process is being sought. The mission is also on alert, and ready to assist the Ivorian authorities to contain violent incidents,” Martin Nesirky, the Secretary-General’s spokesperson, told journalists today in New York.The Secretary-General’s Special Representative and head of the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) Choi Young-Jin plans to meet with leaders of the major political parties this week to resume the Ivorian political process. Originally intended to be held in 2005, the polls have been repeatedly postponed. Last scheduled for November 2009, they have been slated for March. The election is seen as a crucial benchmark for the country, which was split into a rebel-held north and Government-controlled south by civil war in 2002.