SEPT, 24 2007 – FINAL COMMUNIQUÉ OF THE III WORKING SESSION OF THE ICG ON GUINEA-BISSAU
New York - The International Contact Group on Guinea Bissau (ICG-GB) held its third session on 24th September 2007. Present at the meeting were representatives from Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, France, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Portugal, Senegal, Spain, the United Nations, the European Union, the Community of Portuguese-Speaking Countries (CPLP), the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the IMF and the World Bank. The meeting was co-chaired by H.E. Djibrill Yipènè BASSOLÉ, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Cooperation of Burkina Faso, Chairman of the ECOWAS Council of Ministers and H.E. João Gomes Cravinho, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Portugal. After the opening remarks, the meeting adopted its agenda.
The Group was briefed by the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Portugal, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation and Communities of Guinea-Bissau as well as by representatives of the United Nations and ECOWAS on the recent political developments in Guinea Bissau. From these reports, it noted that some positive and concrete progress has been made in the country although some areas remain fragile and require support from the international community in order to safeguard the principal gains that the return to normal constitutional life in the country represents.
3. Based on a careful analysis of the political situation, the International Contact Group congratulated the Government of Guinea-Bissau for its commitment to taking adequate measures to establish an enduring peace, stability and security in the country, as demanded by the international community.
4. The Group expressed its conviction that the current positive political environment will have important consequences on political stability and in the consolidation
Security Sector Situation
11. The Group took note of some progress made on the Defence and Security sector reform and underlined the need for the Government of Guinea-Bissau to tackle these problems by collaborating with the relevant institutions and bilateral partners. It underscored the importance of the full implementation of the Security Sector Reform (SSR) within the guidelines presented in the Defence and Security Sector Reform Document and in close coordination with the international community.
12. The Group underlined the continuous role of the Armed Forces in the promotion of stability in the country and expressed its belief that it will continue to cooperate in the implementation of the SSR.
13. The ICG-GB welcomed the announcements made by the European Union and ECOWAS to make resources available in support of security sector reform. It also welcomed concrete developments in the SSR process due to take place in October, namely the arrival in the country of three experts within the framework of the EU Stability Instrument and the preparation for the arrival of a "fact finding mission" prior to the set up of an ESDP mission to Guinea-Bissau.
14. The ICG-GB noted that drug trafficking remains a major challenge for Guinea Bissau and constitutes a real threat not only to the stability but also to the credibility of the country. The Group therefore congratulated the government of Guinea-Bissau for the announcement of the setting up of the Emergency Plan to Fight Drug Trafficking presented by the Ministry of Justice last August and expressed its readiness to support proposals made and to contribute unequivocally to its full and efficient implementation.
15. The Group urged the Government of Guinea-Bissau to work in close collaboration with ECOWAS, the Regional Office of the UNODC and other bilateral partners in a relentless effort to combat drug trafficking.
16. The Group reaffirmed its support for the inclusion of Guinea-Bissau on the Peace Building Commission's (PBC) agenda, as it requested by the government of Guinea-Bissau.
17. The Group decided to hold consultations as to the date and venue of its next meeting.