27 February 2007 United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today called on the international community to increase its economic cooperation with the new Government of Guinea following President Lansana Conté’s appointment of a consensus prime minister, ending weeks of strikes and deadly clashes with labour unions.
In a statement issued by his spokesperson, Mr. Ban welcomed Mr. Conté’s decision to name Lansana Kouyaté, a former senior UN official, as prime minister and commended “the successful and constructive facilitation role” played by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) headed by General Ibrahim Babangida.
He called on all Guineans to support Mr. Kouyaté, who in 1994 was UN Assistant Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs and before that Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Somalia, and “work together in building momentum towards lasting peace and prosperity in their country.”
Mr. Ban welcomed the labour leaders’ pledge to suspend their strike following the appointment.
“The Secretary-General calls on the international community to enhance its economic cooperation with the new Government with a view to consolidating the consensus reached, which would allow the reform process and the country's efforts on poverty alleviation and the promotion of development, good governance and respect for human rights and the rule of law to take hold,” the statement said.
Mr. Ban’s Special Representative for West Africa, Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, conferred with the ECOWAS chairman, President Blaise Compaoré of Burkina Faso, and other ECOWAS leaders yesterday in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso’s capital, and will return to Conakry later this week.
During the weeks of crisis Mr. Ban and other senior UN officials called on the Government and labour leaders to step back from the worsening political and security situation in which at least 110 people had been killed since last month.
The UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) released $2.35 million for urgent humanitarian activities and Mr. Ban urged the security forces to exercise maximum restraint and to scrupulously uphold the rule of law and respect for human rights while calling on labour leaders to refrain from inciting violence and the destruction of property.