8470th Security Council Meeting: Situation in West Africa

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26-Feb-2019 00:26:36
Leaders of Security Council West Africa mission focus on Côte d’Ivoire’s transition to peacebuilding, Guinea-Bissau’s progress towards reform at 8470th meeting.

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The Security Council, on a recent field visit to Côte d’Ivoire and Guinea‑Bissau, urged stakeholders in those countries to continue down the path of dialogue while gleaning lessons and best practices from several successful post‑conflict transitions in the region.

Kacou Houadja Léon Adom (Côte d’Ivoire), one of the Co-Chairs of the 14‑16 February mission to West Africa, outlined the Council delegation’s activities during its first stop in Abidjan. Spotlighting Côte d’Ivoire’s successful transition from peacekeeping to peacebuilding, he said Council members drew attention to good practices and lessons learned there — as well as in neighbouring Liberia — in their work. Among other senior Government officials, the delegation met with Marcel Amon-Tanoh, Côte d’Ivoire’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, who said a successful emergence from conflict requires strong national ownership and a post-crisis strategy with political support at the highest levels.

He said that Mr. Amon-Tanoh also reassured Council members that strides continue apace to uphold peace and increase transparency, including in Côte d’Ivoire’s upcoming elections. Meanwhile, discussions emerged about the role of then-Chair of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Alassane Ouattara, President of Côte d’Ivoire, in tackling the 2013 crisis in Mali. On Côte d’Ivoire’s reform priorities, he spotlighted the fight against corruption, the protection and promotion of human rights and the empowerment of women, adding that his nation currently ranks among the world’s 10 “most reform-minded countries”, as well as one of its fastest-growing economies.

Among the Council’s other important meetings in Côte d’Ivoire, he spotlighted briefings by the United Nations Resident Coordinator in that country, Babacar Cissé, and his counterpart in Liberia, Yacoub el Hillo. He said that Mr. El Hillo indicated that, after 25 years on the Council’s agenda, Liberia is now on the path to peace, stability and development. However, unlike Côte d’Ivoire, it still faces major challenges, including a dramatic collapse in economic growth, yet-to-be-addressed root causes of social tension and a lack of effective border controls. Such issues must be tackled to avoid a resurgence of conflict, he stressed, adding that Mr. El Hillo called for a reassessment of the United Nations country team to ensure that it is well-placed to support those efforts.

The mission’s other Co-Chair, Anatolio Ndong Mba (Equatorial Guinea) — who is also Council President for February — then briefed on the delegation’s subsequent visit to Guinea-Bissau. In the capital, Bissau, members met with senior officials including Prime Minister Aristides Gomes and the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General. It also engaged in discussions with various groups involved in the country’s peace process, including civil society leaders, representatives of regional and international organizations and local politicians. Council members appealed to all actors to continue supporting the still-fragile achievements made towards peace and stability, especially in the run-up to Presidential elections, he said, expressing hope that the upcoming vote will help bring peace “once and for all”.

Spotlighting achievements in that regard — including the recent signing of a stability pact, and broad agreement on a code of conduct obliging political parties to respect electoral results — he said that Mr. Gomes nevertheless raised concerns about a lack of sufficient funding. Council members heard that donors have not lived up to their committed pledges and that the political crisis has adversely impacted Guinea-Bissau’s economy. Meanwhile, discussions also emerged about alleged irregularities and efforts to obstruct the electoral process — including by political parties themselves.

In addition, he said, Council members took part in discussions with the “group of five” international organizations represented in Bissau, namely including the African Union, ECOWAS, Community of Portuguese-Speaking Counties, European Union and the United Nations. Some participants called for a continued focus on Guinea-Bissau’s constitutional reform process, while others stressed that any reconfiguration of the United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Guinea-Bissau (UNIOGBIS) must focus on drug and human trafficking. While stakeholders agreed on the continued need for international support, some called for a lifting of the sanctions still imposed on Guinea-Bissau. Council members also welcomed a new gender parity law, which sets the rate of women’s participation in elections at 36 per cent, and called upon all stakeholders to commit to a peaceful dialogue process that will lead to stability.

The meeting began at 10:08 a.m. an ended at 10:34 a.m.

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