UN Security Council should continue to reaffirm the centrality of Conakry Agreement and reiterate its full support to ECOWAS- SRSG Touré

The Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) and Head of the United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Guinea-Bissau (UNIOGBIS), Modibo I. Touré, speaking via videoconference from Bissau, briefed the Security Council today on the Secretary-General’s report on the situation in the country.

16 Feb 2018

UN Security Council should continue to reaffirm the centrality of Conakry Agreement and reiterate its full support to ECOWAS- SRSG Touré

“This briefing is taking place against the backdrop of a rapidly evolving political situation in Guinea-Bissau”, SRSG Touré said explaining that in recent weeks, a series of key events have occurred with important ramifications, including the appointment of a new Prime Minister by President Jose Mario Vaz and the imposition by ECOWAS of targeted sanctions on 19 individuals deemed to be obstructing the implementation of the Conakry Agreement.

“At this critical juncture, it would be important for the UN Security Council to continue to reaffirm the centrality of the Conakry Agreement and to reiterate its full support to ECOWAS in its mediation efforts and for the measures it has taken against political stakeholders deemed to be obstructing the resolution of the political crisis”, the Head of the UN in Guinea-Bissau said.

Legislative elections being expected on May this year, Modibo Toure further said that he would seek the Council’s support in underscoring the importance of urgently organizing and holding these elections within the constitutionally-mandated timeline.

Emphasizing the role of UNIGOBIS, he stressed that, during the past six months, under his leadership, “the “P5” group of regional and international partners, comprising representatives of the African Union, the Community of Portuguese Language Speaking Countries, ECOWAS, the European Union and the United Nations, has continued to harmonize efforts and messaging at opportune moments with the aim of creating a stable and enabling environment for dialogue among political leaders.”

“Going forward, UNIOGBIS will need to focus its efforts on supporting national leaders in their efforts to appoint an acceptable Prime Minister, establish an inclusive Government, organize and conduct timely elections, and implement the priority reforms as outlined in the Conakry Agreement and the ECOWAS Roadmap. Until the completion of the electoral cycle in 2019, more than ever, Guinea-Bissau remains a country that requires a dedicated United Nations presence to prevent a further deterioration in the political and security situation at the national level and avoid any negative consequences in the sub-region,” he explained.

Also briefing the Security Council in his capacity as Chair of the Guinea‑Bissau Configuration of the Peacebuilding Commission, Mauro Vieira (Brazil). He recalled that in December 2017, the Peacebuilding Fund approved six new projects to be implemented between January 2018 and June 2019 in Guinea-Bissau — totalling $7 million — which aimed to support the country’s media, justice sector and national reconciliation efforts.

Also speaking today were the representatives of the United States, Ethiopia, France, Peru, Sweden, United Kingdom, Poland, Kazakhstan, Bolivia, China, Russian Federation, Kuwait, Guinea-Bissau and Togo.

To the US representative, her country applauded the efforts by ECOWAS to hold “political spoilers” accountable through the imposition of sanctions. “The United States was profoundly disappointed by the President of Guinea-Bissau’s decision to ignore the Conakry Agreement and his refusal to form a unity Government that would pave the way to elections in May”, she said.  

The representative of the Russian Federation voiced support for efforts by the United Nations, African Union, ECOWAS and the Community of Portuguese-speaking Countries to normalize the situation in Guinea-Bissau.  However, he expressed concern about the lack of progress in implementing the Conakry Agreement, and urged all actors on the ground to implement security sector reforms, overhaul the Constitution and prepare for successful elections. 

For his part, the representative of Sweden, stressing that the six-point Bissau road map and the Conakry Agreement remained the only way forward, he commended ECOWAS mediation efforts and welcomed its decision to impose sanctions on those impeding the Agreement’s implementation.  “It is important that the international community fully support regional efforts in a concerted and coherent manner,” he said. 

Many delegates emphasized the importance of implementing the Conakry Agreement, including the representative of Equatorial Guinea, who stressed that the accord was the main reference point for the political future of the country.  Political actors in Guinea-Bissau should join forces to make it possible to form an inclusive Government.  That would lay the foundation for legislative and presidential elections to be organized, he said.

The representative of the Netherlands noted the urgency of appointing a consensus Prime Minister in Guinea-Bissau and of holding elections in a timely and transparent manner.