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UN says crisis in Guinea-Bissau could worsen

UN says crisis in Guinea-Bissau could worsen
February 18
10:21 2016

Miguel Trovoada, the UN secretary-general’s special representative in Guinea-Bissau, said the prolonged political crisis in that country could get worse “in the absence of a frank and sincere dialogue involving all parties concerned’.’

Trovoada made this known while briefing the UN security council on the situation in Guinea-Bissau on Wednesday in New York.

He said “the more institutions and the main political actors remain divided, the more the current political situation will become complex, delaying the implementation of critical reforms.’’

He added that all concerned parties and in particular the president, the president of the national assembly, the prime minister and political parties, should put the national interest first and engage in frank and sincere dialogue, strictly respecting the constitution and laws.

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Failure to do so, he warned, would perpetuate the cycle of political instability that had dogged Guinea-Bissau for too long and undermine the prospects of its citizens.

He also expressed concern about growing organised crime, citing recent break-ins at the residences of a member of the Government and an international United Nations official.

Also briefing the Council, Antonio de Patriota, Chair of the Guinea-Bissau Configuration of the Peacebuilding Commission, said it was reassuring that political discord had not translated into violence.

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He, however, said that it was disheartening to see instability forcing international partners to delay the disbursement of financial resources pledged at the Brussels Donors’ Conference in March 2015.

He said that it was of the utmost importance that the Security Council endorse the continuation of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Security Mission in Guinea-Bissau (ECOMIB), whose mandate would expire in June.

“Political will, constructive and consensual dialogue, coupled with courageous leadership, as we know Bissau-Guineans are capable of, are needed now more than ever, and should become a powerful force to outweigh the actions of spoilers,” he stressed.

Also, Maria D’Alva, representative of Guinea-Bissau to the UN, said the political crisis had compromised the State’s functioning and jeopardised all gains achieved after 2014.

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This, she said, includes the general election and the encouraging results from the Brussels Donors’ Conference.

She appealed for continued international engagement with her country to consolidate stronger institutions and work more closely to guide national authorities and all political stakeholders, through an open and frank dialogue to prevent other crises.

In spite of existing tensions, she said, there had been relative calm.

D’Alva said while the government had the primary responsibility to bring about peace, Bissau-Guineans also counted on the international community to remain engaged.

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She said parties involved in the current political crisis had been carrying out legal steps to solve differences through the national courts was a point to be commended.

On the priority of security-sector reform, she urged partners to fulfil their commitments by providing financial support to the pension fund for the demobilisation of military and police officers, as well as to the special fund for retired former freedom fighters.

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By implementing all reforms, she said, Guinea-Bissau could achieve peace and stability, which in turn would create an enabling environment and attract foreign and domestic investment while creating jobs for young people and empowering women, among other things.

She noted that Timor-Leste had disbursed 250,000 dollars to be used for the national dialogue and reconciliation process, as per its Brussels pledge.

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D’Alva encouraged others to make similar gestures, noting that the Government planned to host a meeting in Bissau in March to review results from the Brussels Donors’ Conference.

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