Role of international community in mediating political crisis in Guinea-Bissau

Since the signing of the Conakry Agreement in September 2016, the political situation in Guinea-Bissau is in a state of "impasse" in which political actors do not cohabit, do not dialogue and trade accusations, which, in the opinion of many Guineans and the international community, is a cause for concern.

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18 Apr 2017

Role of international community in mediating political crisis in Guinea-Bissau

The international community continues to make efforts for dialogue as a way to resolve the Guinean crisis by negotiating with the parties involved in implementing the Conakry Agreement.

For the fulfillment of this agreement, CPLP Executive Secretary, Maria do Carmo Silveira, visited the country 2-6 April in order to listen to different national and international actors about the way out of the political crisis in the country.

"I listened to the different actors and what I found is that everyone has their perspective on what is happening and I believe there is a need to bring the positions closer and I also found everyone's willingness to dialogue," said the CPLP's Executive Secretary.

Bissau-Guineans see delegations coming and going, and wonder how mediation is done? Chukwuemeka Benedict Eze, a mediation expert advising the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General in Guinea-Bissau (SRSG) clarifies that "mediation is an informal process in which a third party, with the consent of the parties to a dispute, brings them together to try to communicate with them and come up with a solution to their problem. In this context, mediation works best when the parties to the dispute are willing to resolve the problem and when they have good faith in resolving the conflict."

And this is what is happening in Guinea-Bissau, the international community has been meeting with the actors of the crisis in search of a solution. Because it is very difficult to resolve the problems alone, the Bissau-Guineans, through their government, have asked for help from the international community, in particular the United Nations, which has thus established a political mission, the United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Guinea -Bissau (UNIOGBIS).

UNIOGBIS is working with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), as a regional organization, to help resolve the country's political crisis, as mandated by the Security Council. Its peacekeeping force in the country - ECOMIB - is also under ECOWAS command. UNIOGBIS therefore works in coordination with ECOWAS.

The Conakry Agreements are the result of this work. However, the country continues to have difficulties implementing it - the blockade continues, the state budget has not been approved;there are protests and mutual accusations by the political actors.

Most Bissau-Guineans think that is is important to continue making efforts for dialogue and mediation. There are, however, more pessimistic views.

For the Human Rights activist Luis Vaz Martins, international mediation, due to what happened in the country in the past, is likely to fail.This activist pointed out two ways out of this crisis:

"The first solution is that people have to take to the streets in a clear way to demonstrate their opposition to what is happ
ening and the second solution, the people have to take power," Luís Martins stated.


The chairman of the National Institute of Youth, Filinto Omar Martins Salla, suggested that "young people could be a potential mediator of this political-institutional crisis, as long as they maintain an equidistant position between the disaffected parties."