The following Security Council press statement was issued today by Council President Kacou Houadja Léon Adom (Côte d’Ivoire):
The members of the Security Council were briefed on 21 December 2018, on the special report of the Secretary-General on the assessment of the United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Guinea-Bissau (UNIOGBIS) and the latest political developments in Guinea-Bissau, by Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Taye-Brook Zerihoun, and Ambassador Mauro Vieira, Permanent Representative of Brazil to the United Nations, in his capacity as Chair of the Guinea-Bissau Configuration of the Peacebuilding Commission.
The members of the Security Council took note with interest of the special report of the Secretary-General on the assessment of UNIOGBIS, as well as the recommendations to reconfigure the United Nations presence in Guinea-Bissau by streamlining UNIOGBIS into a good offices mission focused on the facilitation of the political and contingent upon the successful completion of the electoral cycle. The members of the Security Council expressed their intention to deliberate on the findings and recommendations in negotiating the next UNIOGBIS resolution in February 2019.
The members of the Security Council expressed their deep concern regarding the status of preparations for legislative elections and regret that the Government of Guinea-Bissau did not hold legislative elections on 18 November 2018. They stressed that legislative elections are a fundamental step in resuming sustainable and nationally owned reforms and should take place prior to the presidential elections foreseen in 2019. The members of the Security Council took note of the completion of the voter registration process, as well as the announcement of a new date for legislative elections, to be held on 10 March 2019.
The members of the Security Council reiterated the important role of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), in supporting peacebuilding and sustaining peace in Guinea-Bissau. They took note of the ECOWAS assessment of Guinea-Bissau on 12 December and shared the concerns expressed in the final communiqué of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government of 23 December which noted difficulties created by some political stakeholders that delayed the voter registration process. The members of the Security Council commended the ECOWAS for its determination to hold accountable political stakeholders and others who obstruct the smooth conduct of the electoral process.
The members of the Security Council expressed their concern that unless political actors demonstrate renewed good faith and political will to hold genuinely free and fair elections, Guinea-Bissau is set to face a continuous cycle of instability.
The members of the Security Council therefore appealed to all Bissau-Guinean actors to work towards the preservation of the still fragile gains in the path of stability in the country and reaffirmed the importance of holding genuinely free and fair legislative elections in Guinea-Bissau no later than 10 March 2019 and ensuring the full participation of women. They underscored that all Bissau-Guinean political stakeholders must overcome their differences, reach consensus, and uphold the interests and well-being of their people above all else, and strongly urged all stakeholders to redouble their efforts to ensure the smooth organization of elections, as mandated by the Constitution of Guinea-Bissau.
The members of the Security Council recalled that the implementation of the Conakry Agreement of 14 October 2016, based on the ECOWAS six-point road map, is the primary framework for a peaceful resolution of the political crisis, as it offers an opportunity for national authorities and political leaders, as well as civil society, jointly to ensure political stability and build sustainable peace. In that respect, the members of the Security Council urged for continued talks and inclusive dialogue for the signing of the Stability Pact.
The members of the Security Council commended Guinea-Bissau defence and security forces for their continued non-interference in the political situation in Guinea-Bissau, and strongly urged them to maintain the same posture. They also encouraged the continuation of the ECOWAS Mission in Guinea-Bissau (ECOMIB) operations in Guinea-Bissau through the end of the electoral cycle in 2019 to maintain stability in the country and invited international partners to support ECOWAS in this regard.
The members of the Security Council reaffirmed their full respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Guinea-Bissau, in accordance with the United Nations Charter, and welcomed the support of bilateral and multilateral partners, including the United Nations, African Union, ECOWAS, the Community of Portuguese Language Countries, and the European Union. The members of the Security Council encouraged them to continue to play a constructive role in support of building and sustaining peace in Guinea-Bissau.