24 July 2006

Security Council Press Statement on Guinea-Bissau

NEW YORK, 21 July (UN Headquarters) -- The following Security Council press statement on Guinea-Bissau was delivered today by Council President Jean-Marc de La Sablière (France):

Members of the Security Council heard a briefing on 20 July from the Representative of the Secretary-General for Guinea-Bissau, João Bernardo Honwana, on recent developments in Guinea-Bissau, as contained in the latest Secretary-General's report (S/2006/487).

Members of the Security Council expressed concern about the continued fragility of the political situation in the country, the limited progress in the consolidation of peace and stability, and the slow pace of national reconciliation.

Members of the Security Council welcomed steps taken by President Vieira to engage in constructive dialogue with national actors, including political parties, business and trade unions, as well as civil society partners, as part of efforts to foster institutional stability, increase the prospects of sustainable peace and fulfil the expectations of the people of Guinea-Bissau for a more promising future.

Members of the Security Council deplored the loss of lives, the displacement of populations and the political tension caused in the wake of operations launched by Guinea-Bissau armed forces against a faction of the Movement des Forces Democratiques de la Casamance in the north of Guinea-Bissau.

Members of the Council reiterated the Secretary-General's appeal to respond positively to the flash appeal, in order that urgent needs of the population affected by the military operations in the north could be fully met.

Members of the Security Council noted the prevalence of illegal narcotics trafficking in the coastal islands of Guinea-Bissau, and they encouraged the international community to foster awareness of this situation and consider ways to help the Government of Guinea-Bissau curb this problem.

Members of the Security Council called upon all political leaders in Guinea-Bissau to demonstrate the necessary political will and engage themselves in constructive, inclusive and peaceful dialogue aiming at consolidating the democratic process.  

Members of the Security Council reiterated their call upon the international community to remain engaged, particularly through economic and financial assistance, as well as in the area of security sector reform, in Guinea-Bissau.  In this regard, they paid tribute to the continued efforts made by bilateral and multilateral partners to assist the country.  In particular, the Council commended the financial support provided by Nigeria, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and Brazil, on behalf of the Community of Portuguese-Speaking Countries (CPLP), and encouraged other members of the international community to do likewise.

Members of the Security Council further reaffirmed their intention to follow closely all developments in Guinea-Bissau as a guarantee to ongoing efforts to consolidate the democratic process and peace and expressed their readiness to study the recommendations to be made by the Secretary General on the future role of the United Nations Peace-building Support Office in Guinea-Bissau.

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