Members of the Security Council briefed the 15-nation organ today on their visiting missions to Guinea-Bissau, Mali and Senegal, providing a closer examination of the current situations in those West African countries and the wider region.
Delivering briefings on the missions, comprising Council members and Secretariat officials, the representatives of Angola, France and Senegal presented highlights as well as insights into concerns about pressing security and political challenges. The visits took place between 3 and 9 March.
Regarding the visit to Mali, François Delattre (France), who co-led that leg of the mission with Fodé Seck (Senegal), said they had met with all stakeholders, including Government officials, local groups, civil society organizations and religious leaders, to glean a better on-the-ground understanding. The visit had helped the mission to focus on three messages: the restoration of friendly relations, the implementation of the peace agreement and the ongoing threat of terrorism. Emphasizing the importance of meeting the asymmetric challenges confronting the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), he called upon Council members to help strengthen the Mission.
Briefing on the Guinea-Bissau leg, Gorgui Ciss (Senegal) on behalf of Mr. Seck, co-leader with Ismael Abraão Gaspar Martins (Angola), said they had held meetings with President José Mário Vaz, Prime Minister Carlos Correia and other high-level officials, with discussions centring on prevailing concerns. The Council had delivered key messages as an expression of its interest in helping the country. It had underlined the importance of inclusive dialogue and the efforts of the ECOWAS Mission in Guinea-Bissau (ECOMIB). Noting that the current crisis was affecting the African Party for the Independence of Cape Verde and Guinea (PAIGC), he said discussions had also been held on the crisis within the ruling party. In another meeting, a party official had denied any involvement in the current situation, he added.
He cited President Vaz as having called for a political solution through dialogue involving all parties. The President had also said that political disputes should not be submitted to judiciary bodies and that he was committed to the constitution. In turn, Council members had recognized the threats posed by of organized crime, drug trafficking and extremist groups, he said, adding that the mission had left Guinea-Bissau concerned about the situation, and had encouraged political parties to resolve their differences through dialogue.
Providing highlights of the visit to Senegal was Ismael Abraão Gaspar Martins (Angola), Council President for March and head of that leg of the mission. He said they had met with officials at the United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). They had heard briefings on the rise of terrorist threats, including those by Boko Haram, and had been informed about requests for support submitted by countries in the region. Mohammed Ibn Chambas, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and Head of UNOWAS, had briefed Council members on related developments.
He said the visit had ended with a meeting with President Macky Sall of Senegal, in his capacity as Chair of ECOWAS, who had presented an assessment of threats in the region, the situation in Mali and the need to maintain that country’s territorial integrity. President Sall had said that MINUSMA should receive adequate support so that it could discharge its mandate fully, and that there was a need for countries to develop their capacities to deal with regional threats. President Sall had also urged national authorities in Guinea-Bissau to work together and emphasized the role of ECOWAS in the maintenance of peace and security in the country. The President had then requested that the Council support the African Union’s mission to Burundi.
The meeting began at 11:13 a.m. and ended at 11:35 a.m.
* The 7646th Meeting was closed.