On 17 July 2017, the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 2048 (2012) concerning Guinea-Bissau held informal consultations to hear a briefing from the Chair on his visit to Guinea-Bissau between 13 and 15 June, and to consider the proposed actions on the way forward.
A written report of the visit and the table of recommendations were circulated to the members of the Committee on 10 July.
The purpose of the visit of the Chair was to obtain first-hand accounts concerning the effective implementation of the sanctions measures imposed by Security Council resolution 2048 (2012) and discuss political developments in Guinea-Bissau. This was the first time that a Chair of the Committee visited the country.
Although the situation in Guinea-Bissau remains stable in general, uncertainty over the eventual resolution of the ongoing political crisis threatens to easily undermine the calm in the country.
The constitutional order seems not to be directly threatened so far, but the ambiguity among division of power between the President and the Prime Minister continue to be a basis for political feuding.
In addition, uncertainty in the political environment has weakened the confidence of donors and investors as the root causes of instability in Guinea-Bissau still remain unsolved.
International and regional efforts to find a durable solution to the political crisis seem to have no impact on the ground, as all the provisions contained in the Conakry Agreement are yet to be implemented, mainly due to lack of political will.
The institutions in the country remain weak and susceptible to corruption when addressing important problems such as drug trafficking and the fight against criminality.
The Chair stated that Guinea-Bissau still lingers in an uncertain political situation without clear signs of substantive progress towards a solution in the near future. However, so far, the security situation is stable without any relevant violent episode, the military do not interfere in political disputes, human rights seem to be overall respected and the constitutional order is not directly threatened.
During the visit, many interlocutors noted how the political crisis was overall perceived as originated by lack of political will to reach a solution, and with a focus on personal interests and ambitions, rather than on religious, ideological, ethnic, philosophical different points of view.
During the visit, almost all of the interlocutors noted that since 2012 the military have maintained a conduct respectful to the constitutional order and the country’s laws, avoiding interfering with the political life of Guinea-Bissau. A very large number of interlocutors believe that it would be appropriate to de-list the current individuals based on their commendable behaviour.
It must be noted that the sanctioned individuals are still active in the military ranks and some of them have been promoted to higher ranks. This alimented the perception among some in the population of the existence of a state of impunity.
The overall sentiment among most of the interlocutors met was that sanctions measures had been and were still effective as a deterrent for possible spoilers, both military and civilians. However, for as much as sanctions were considered effective, many interlocutors noted how measures were not targeting the appropriate individuals and called for sanctions to be imposed on civilians, in particular politicians. Interlocutors who were not part of the Government, clearly stated that the responsibility for this political crisis laid in the hands of the political class, political parties and in general civilians who pursued a personal interest rather than the interest of the whole country.
In numerous meetings, interlocutors highlighted the positive role of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Mission in Guinea-Bissau (ECOMIB) in contributing to deter challenges to the constitutional order, even though it is evident that ECOMIB’s role is very symbolic and that, in case of a full-scale armed intervention of the military, the Mission could not oppose it due to its limited capacity.
Members of the Committee highlighted the importance of the visit of the Chair and supported his assessments of the situation in Guinea-Bissau.