October 15, 2008 - Security Council welcomes elections but serious concerns remain
UN News Centre - The Security Council today welcomed the commitment of Guinea-Bissau to hold parliamentary elections next month and called on all political parties, the security forces and civil society to ensure free, fair and transparent voting.
Calling on donors to continue providing financial resources to support the electoral process, the Council acknowledged in a presidential statement the technical support and funds already provided by the international community.
The 15-member Council also expressed serious concern at the continued growth in drug trafficking and organized crime, which threatens peace and security in Guinea-Bissau and West Africa.
"The Council underlines the responsibility that the Government of Guinea-Bissau has for tackling this issue and calls upon the international community to cooperate actively with Guinea-Bissau in this regard," according to the statement read out by Ambassador Zhang Yesui of China, which holds the rotating Council presidency for October.
Security sector reform must remain a priority for Guinea-Bissau, Mr. Yesui stressed in the statement, encouraging the Government to continue implementing the programme it has begun in this area.
The rising food and fuel price crises and the cholera epidemic were also causes of concern to the Council, as it called on the Government and its partners to strengthen efforts to eradicate the disease.
Since the latest cholera outbreak emerged in May, at least 133 people across Guinea-Bissau have died and UN agencies, particularly the World Health Organization (WHO) and the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), have been helping local authorities respond.