UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The U.N. Security Council decided on Wednesday to reduce the number of U.N. peacekeepers in Ivory Coast, citing considerable progress in stabilizing the West African country where a civil war erupted five years ago.
The 15-nation council unanimously approved a resolution that called for decreasing the maximum number of blue-helmeted peacekeepers to 4,000 from 5,437 by the end of March.
The council's move came after Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara won a second five-year term in October.
Ivory Coast emerged from a decade of political turmoil in 2011 following a brief civil war sparked by former President Laurent Gbagbo's refusal to recognize Ouattara's victory in an election in late 2010.
Ouattara has won plaudits for reviving the economy of the world's top cocoa producer, which has grown by an average of about 9 percent over the past four years.
Rights groups accuse his government, however, of pursuing a policy of victors' justice in which they say Gbagbo's allies are prosecuted while alleged crimes committed during the war by Ouattara's backers go unpunished.
Reporting by Louis Charbonneau; Editing by Peter Cooney