8614th Security Council Meeting: Situation in Guinea-Bissau

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10-Sep-2019 01:43:18
Briefing Security Council, senior officials urge increased international support as Guinea-Bissau prepares for November presidential election at 8614th meeting.

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As Guinea-Bissau prepares for presidential elections in November, the international community must increase support for that country’s Government as it faces a multitude of challenges along the road to stability, senior United Nations officials told the Security Council today.

Briefing the 15-member Council on recent developments and pressing challenges in that country, the Assistant Secretary-General for Africa in the Departments of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs and Peace Operations commended the Government’s efforts, including its preparations for the presidential election, its unprecedented achievement of gender parity and its appointment of youth candidates to the Cabinet. She also highlighted new developments ahead of the planned December 2020 drawdown of the United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Guinea-Bissau (UNIOGBIS), commending the mission and other key partners for their role in helping the Government during a critical period.

Challenges persist, however, including mistrust among political stakeholders, electoral management, socioeconomic tensions and cross-border drug trafficking, she emphasized. Appealing to the international community to continue to provide the Government with the necessary financial and technical support, she stressed the importance of preventing the loss of hard-won gains of past years. Indeed, Guinea-Bissau must seize the opportunity to end the recurring cycle of instability that has hampered its economic development for decades, she emphasized, warning that the risk of further instability leading up to the election is high.

As such, national political stakeholders have a pivotal role to play in ensuring stability, and all national actors must transcend narrow individual and party interests, she continued. In addition, every effort must be made to ensure the elections are free and fair, with the Government and the international community honouring their financial commitments in this regard.

Brazil’s representative also briefed the Council in his capacity as Chair of the Guinea-Bissau configuration of the Peacebuilding Commission, saying that a peaceful transition of power would be a historic achievement for Guinea-Bissau. The international community’s support is crucial at this important juncture, he stressed, saying he will visit the country in October and subsequently report his observations to the Council.

Council members pledged support for the forthcoming elections, with France’s representative emphasizing the importance of ensuring that the presidential elections take place on time and are conducted peacefully. “Abiding by this timeline is imperative if we want to avoid a new political crisis,” he added.

South Africa’s representative said that, as UNIOGBIS continues to draw down, the international community must remain prudent in ensuring that it does not leave a security vacuum behind. He also pointed out that the regional implications of drug-smuggling routes are worrisome since they are also used for trafficking in arms and people.

Meanwhile, China’s delegate said all parties must resolve differences and consolidate the progress made to date while promoting stable development and improving living conditions. Development holds the key to solving related problems, he stressed.

Summing up a common thread, the Russian Federation’s representative said that the November election, if conducted successfully, can turn the page on political turbulence and ensure progress towards socioeconomic development.

The United Kingdom’s representative said his delegation will revisit the sanctions imposed on Guinea-Bissau under resolution 2048 (2012) pending its implementation of key reforms.

Guinea-Bissau’s representative said his delegation is keen to complete the electoral cycle in November, having elected 102 parliamentarians when voters went to the polls in March. Women made up 11 of the 31 Cabinet ministers appointed, he added. Highlighting a step forward in the fight against drug trafficking, he said the authorities seized almost two tons of cocaine and arrested a dozen suspects.

Also speaking today were representatives of Côte d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Dominican Republic, Belgium, Indonesia, Kuwait, Peru, Poland, United States and Germany.

The meeting began at 3:09 p.m. and ended at 4:52 p.m.

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