Guinea-Bissau: the political impasse has consequences on the ground [fr]
Statement by Mrs Anne Gueguen, Deputy Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
Security Council - 14 February 2018
I thank Mr. Modibo Touré, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Guinea-Bissau, for his clear and precise briefing, which reminds us of just how critical this point is for Guinea-Bissau. I also thank Ambassador Mauro Vieira for his efforts as Chair of the Guinea-Bissau configuration of the Peacebuilding Commission and for his insistent appeal for support to regional initiatives and for respect for the electoral cycle in Guinea-Bissau.
France is concerned about the non-implementation of the Conakry Agreement since October 2016. The Agreement, which provides for the appointment of a consensus Prime Minister, has remained a dead letter, even though it provides a plan to resolve the conflict.
This political impasse has consequences on the ground. There have been several clashes between the police and opposition political parties. Respect for human rights is also not assured in Guinea-Bissau. The latest developments on the ground show that the authorities of Guinea-Bissau no longer hesitate to limit the freedom of assembly and the right to protest. The establishment of a robust compliance framework with regard to respect for public freedoms is an essential precondition to the resolution of the crisis in Guinea-Bissau. We therefore call upon the international community to be particularly vigilant in that regard.
Due to the risk of a deterioration in the political and security situation, it is high time for all parties to honour their commitments to reach national consensus, all the more so because the window of opportunity is narrowing, as legislative elections are slated for this spring. In that regard, it is particularly important to ensure that the legislative and presidential time table is adhered to.
I would like to emphasize three essential points with regard to the renewal at the end of the month of the madate of the United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Guinea-Bissau (UNIOGBIS).
1/ First, we must increase our support for regional initiatives. In that regard, France welcomes the ongoing efforts of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), especially the work of the ECOWAS Mission in Guinea-Bissau and the recent adoption of the sanctions list of people obstructing the implementation of the Conakry Agreement. That is an important step forward and a clear sign to the relevant local actors. We are convinced that the solution to the conflict will require consultation among local actors and the international community. In that connection, the group of five international partners based in Guinea-Bissau, which comprises the African Union, the European Union, the United Nations, ECOWAS and the Community of Portuguese-speaking Countries, provides a special coordination platform that ought to be supported.
2/ Secondly, it is crucial for the Security Council to fully assume its role in resolving the current political impasse in Guinea-Bissau. The Council should increase pressure on local actors, particularly President Vaz, and should direct the parties in Guinea-Bissau to shoulder their responsibilities. Sanctions were adopted in 2012 through resolution 2048 (2012), and additional measures could be taken in conjunction with those taken by ECOWAS.
3/ Thirdly, it is essential to renew the mandate of UNIOGBIS, which ends 28 February, and thereby signal the commitment of the United Nations to continuing to participate in the process of resolving the conflict. We should also contemplate restructuring UNIOGBIS following an assessment of the impact of its activities on the ground.
It is time for the parties in Guinea-Bissau to move from words to action. Their commitments must now give way to concrete action.