UN and AU Special Representatives address joint press conference on International Day of Peace

24 Sep 2012

UN and AU Special Representatives address joint press conference on International Day of Peace

21 September 2012- The Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Guinea-Bissau, Joseph Mutaboba, and the Special Representative of the President of African Union Commission, Ovidio Pequeno, held a joint press conference in Bissau today at the headquarters of the United Nations Integrated Peace-Building Office in Guinea-Bissau (UNIOGBIS).

The press conference coincided with the International Day of Peace, celebrated each year on 21 September and, in this regard, the two special representatives conveyed the message of the UN Secretary-General and that of the President of the AU Commission for the day. They also issued a special International Peace Day message for Guinea Bissau, in which they highlighted the need for all sectors of the country to become involved in the search for peace.

The two special representatives also briefed journalists on a joint United Nations/African Union (UN/AU) mission they carried out from 26 August to 16 September in Cotonou, Abuja, Dakar, Addis Ababa, Maputo and Lisbon.

The mission, which was joined in Addis Ababa and Maputo by Mr. Joao Honwana, Director of the Africa II Division of the UN Department of Political Affairs, was aimed at contributing to the harmonisation of the positions of the international partners with regard to the support to be given to the transition in Guinea Bissau and at promoting internal political dialogue.

The envoys held consultations with a wide range of interlocutors, including the Chairman of the African Union and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Benin, the ECOWAS Commission, the outgoing and incoming presidents of the African Union Commission, as well as its Commissioner in charge of peace and security and the Chairman of the Community of Portuguese Language Countries (CPLP). They also had meetings with the Executive Secretary and ambassadors of member countries of the CPLP, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Portugal, the Diplomatic Adviser to the Prime Minister of Portugal and, in Dakar, with the ambassadors of countries sitting on the Security Council.

While in Lisbon, they also met members of the government overthrown on 12 April 2012.

"What all these consultations clearly highlighted was that there were no major divergences between ECOWAS and the CPLP, but rather, misunderstandings and, while our interlocutors reiterated their respective positions, they expressed above all their readiness to engage in dialogue," the special representatives said in a joint presentation read by Mr. Mutaboba.

They added that the "United Nations and the African Union will pursue their efforts in that direction, and meetings are scheduled to be held in coming days" including a preparatory coordination meeting to be held in New York on the margin of the United Nations General Assembly.

The meeting will be "co-organised by the UN and the African Union, with the participation of ECOWAS, the CPLP and the European Union,", they disclosed, adding that the results of that meeting will serve as a basis for the meeting of the International Contact Group on Guinea-Bissau to be held in Addis Ababa.