SECURITY COUNCIL CALLS FOR URGENT ESTABLISHMENT OF GOVERNMENT OF NATIONAL UNITY IN GUINEA-BISSAU

21 December 1998
SC/6614

SECURITY COUNCIL CALLS FOR URGENT ESTABLISHMENT OF GOVERNMENT OF NATIONAL UNITY IN GUINEA-BISSAU

21 December 1998

Press ReleaseSC/6614

SECURITY COUNCIL CALLS FOR URGENT ESTABLISHMENT OF GOVERNMENT OF NATIONAL UNITY IN GUINEA-BISSAU

19981221 Resolution 1216 (1998), Adopted Unanimously, Asks Secretary-General To Make Recommendations on Possible UN Role in Peace Process in Guinea-Bissau

The Security Council this afternoon called for an urgent establishment of a government of national unity in Guinea-Bissau and the holding of general and presidential elections there no later than the end of March 1999.

Unanimously adopting resolution 1216 (1998), the Council called upon the Government of Guinea-Bissau and the Self-Proclaimed Military Junta, led by the country's former army commander, to implement fully all the provisions of agreements, including a ceasefire, and the immediate opening of the airport and seaport in Bissau.

The Council also called for the withdrawal of all foreign troops in Guinea-Bissau and the simultaneous deployment of an interposition force of the Economic Community of West African States' Monitoring Observer Group (ECOMOG). It approved the neutral and impartial implementation of the mandate of the interposition force in conformity with United Nations peacekeeping standards. It affirmed that the interposition force might be required to take action to ensure the security and freedom of movement of its personnel in the discharge of its mandate.

The Council asked the Secretary-General to make recommendations on a possible United Nations role in the process of peace and reconciliation in Guinea-Bissau, including the early establishment of a liaison between the United Nations and ECOMOG.

By other terms of the resolution, the Council commended member States of the Portuguese-speaking countries and ECOWAS on the key role they were playing to restore peace and security throughout Guinea-Bissau, and on their intention to participate with others in the observation of the forthcoming general and presidential elections.

It welcomed ECOMOG's role in the implementation of the Abuja Agreement, aimed at guaranteeing security along the Guinea-Bissau/Senegal border, keeping apart the parties in conflict and guaranteeing free access to humanitarian

organizations and agencies to reach the affected civilian populations. (The Abuja Agreement of 1 November 1998 defined the modalities of the 26 August ceasefire agreement signed by the parties and the conditions for a return of lasting peace and normal political life in Guinea-Bissau).

The Council called upon all concerned, including the Government of Guinea-Bissau and the Self-Proclaimed Military Junta, to respect strictly relevant provisions of international law, including humanitarian and human rights law, and to ensure safe and unimpeded access by international humanitarian organizations to persons in need of assistance as a result of the conflict.

By the text, the Council again appealed to States to provide financial, technical and logistical support to assist ECOMOG to carry out its peacekeeping role in Guinea-Bissau. They were also encouraged to contribute to a trust fund for Guinea-Bissau which the Secretary-General was asked to establish to support the ECOMOG interposition force.

The Secretary-General was also asked to keep the Council informed of the situation in Guinea-Bissau and to submit a report to it by 17 March 1999 on the implementation of the Abuja Agreement, including the implementation by the ECOMOG interposition force of its mandate.

For its deliberations, the Council had before it a 15 December letter from the Permanent Representative of Togo addressed to the President of the Security Council (document S/1998/1178), transmitting the text of a final communiqué and the additional protocol to the Abuja Agreement concerning the formation of the Government of National Unity of Guinea-Bissau (annex II), signed at the conclusion of a meeting held in Lomé on 14 and 15 December within the framework of the Guinea-Bissau peace process. The documents were signed by Guinea-Bissau President Joao Bernardo Vieira and the Commander of the Self-Proclaimed Military Junta, General Ansumane Mane.

In annex I of the final communiqué, the protagonists reiterated their commitment to continue to abide by the ceasefire agreement signed at Praia on 26 August. They reaffirmed their unflinching determination to put an end to the conflict, and to actively work towards the return of peace in their country. The conflict in Guinea-Bissau began last June following the dismissal of General Mane as army commander by President Vieira.

The meeting, which began at 1:47 p.m., was adjourned at 1:52 p.m.

Text of Resolution

The full text of resolution 1216 (1998) (document S/1998/1202), which was sponsored by Brazil, France, Gambia, Portugal, Sweden and the United States, reads as follows:

Security Council - 3 - Press Release SC/6614 3958th Meeting (PM) 21 December 1998

"The Security Council,

"Reaffirming the statements of its President of 6 November 1998 (S/PRST/1998/31) and 30 November 1998 (S/PRST/1998/35,

"Gravely concerned by the crisis facing Guinea-Bissau and the serious humanitarian situation affecting the civilian population in Guinea-Bissau,

"Expressing its firm commitment to preserve the unity, sovereignty, political independence and territorial integrity of Guinea-Bissau,

"1. Welcomes the agreements between the Government of Guinea-Bissau and the Self-Proclaimed Military Junta signed in Praia on 26 August 1998 (S/1998/825), and in Abuja on 1 November 1998 (S/1998/1028, annex) and the Additional Protocol signed in Lomé on 15 December 1998 (S/1998/1178, annex);

"2. Calls upon the Government and the Self-Proclaimed Military Junta to implement fully all the provisions of the agreements, including with regard to respect for the ceasefire, the urgent establishment of a government of national unity, the holding of general and presidential elections no later than the end of March 1999, and the immediate opening of the airport and seaport in Bissau, and in cooperation with all concerned, the withdrawal of all foreign troops in Guinea-Bissau and the simultaneous deployment of the interposition force of the Military Observer Group (ECOMOG) of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS);

"3. Commends the Member States of the Portuguese-Speaking Countries and the ECOWAS on the key role they are playing to restore peace and security throughout Guinea-Bissau, and on their intention to participate with others in the observation of the forthcoming general and presidential elections, and welcomes the role of ECOMOG in the implementation of the Abuja Agreement, aimed at guaranteeing security along the Guinea-Bissau/Senegal border, keeping apart the parties in conflict and guaranteeing free access to humanitarian organizations and agencies to reach the affected civilian populations, to be carried out, inter alia, with paragraph 6 below;

"4. Approves the implementation by the ECOMOG interposition force of its mandate referred to in paragraph 3 above in a neutral and impartial way and in conformity with United Nations peacekeeping standards to achieve its objective to facilitate the return to peace and security by monitoring the implementation of the Abuja Agreement;

"5. Calls upon all concerned, including the Government and the Self- Proclaimed Military Junta, to respect strictly relevant provisions of international law, including humanitarian and human rights law, and to ensure safe and unimpeded access by international humanitarian organization to persons in need of assistance as a result of the conflict;

Security Council - 4 - Press Release SC/6614 3958th Meeting (PM) 21 December 1998

"6. Affirms that the ECOMOG interposition force may be required to take action to ensure the security and freedom of movement of its personnel in the discharge of its troops;

"7. Requests ECOMOG to provide periodic reports at least every month through the Secretary-General, the first report to be made one month after deployment of its troops;

"8. Requests also the Secretary-General to make recommendations to the Council on a possible role of the United Nations in the process of peace and reconciliation in Guinea-Bissau, including the early establishment of arrangements for liaison between the United Nations and ECOMOG;

"9. Reiterates its appeal to States and organizations concerned to provide urgent humanitarian assistance to displaced persons and refugees;

"10. Reiterates also its call on States to provide voluntarily financial, technical and logistical support to assist ECOMOG to carry out its peacekeeping role in Guinea-Bissau;

"11. Requests the Secretary-General to take the necessary steps to establish a Trust Fund for Guinea-Bissau which would assist in supporting the ECOMOG interposition force in providing logistical support to them and encourages Member States to contribute to the Fund;

"12. Requests further the Secretary-General to keep the Security Council regularly informed of the situation in Guinea-Bissau and to submit a report to it by 17 March 1999 on the implementation of the Abuja Agreement, including the implementation by the ECOMOG interposition force of its mandate;

"13. Decides to review the situation, including the implementation of the present resolution, before the end of March 1999, on the basis of the report of the Secretary-General referred to in paragraph 12 above;

"14. Decides to remain seized of the matter."

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For information media. Not an official record.