Guinea-Bissau : important step towards the implementation of the Conakry Agreement [fr]
The situation in Guinea-Bissau
Statement by Mrs. Anne Gueguen, Deputy Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations, Chargée d’Affaires a.i.
Security Council - 30 August 2018
I thank the briefers for their comprehensive statements. I also welcome the presence in the Chamber today of Prime Minister Aristides Gomes of Guinea-Bissau, and thank him for making the journey to New York to participate in our work, which is a very positive signal.
I have five brief comments. First, France welcomes the positive developments in recent months in Guinea- Bissau, including the appointment of Mr. Aristides Gomes as a consensus Prime Minister in a first important step towards the implementation of the Conakry Agreement, which we continue to believe is the only way to bring the country out of its long political and institutional crisis. I would also like to welcome the central role played by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and more generally by the group of five international partners — ECOWAS, the African Union, the Community of Portuguese-speaking Countries, the European Union and the United Nations — in achieving those results. It will be crucial to ensure that Guinea-Bissau continues to benefit from strong regional and international support in the months and years to come, and that is a particular responsibility of the Security Council.
Secondly, while encouraging progress has been made over recent months, we expect to see further significant measures over the next few weeks — first and foremost, the holding of elections in November in accordance with the announced schedule. In our view that will be a significant test of the genuine will of the various stakeholders to make progress towards the full implementation of the Conakry Agreement. We expect the Guinea-Bissau authorities to fully engage in the technical preparations for the elections, including voter registration, for which the necessary resources must be made available as soon as possible and the funds allocated for it in the national budget disbursed without delay.
Thirdly, the international community must play its full part in supporting the upcoming electoral process, whether through the provision of financial aid by leading donors or technical assistance by the United Nations Development Programme and the European Union. We have equally high expectations of the Guinea-Bissau authorities. The proper holding of the forthcoming elections is also a prerequisite for any potential lifting of sanctions. In that regard I want to welcome the position of non-interference in political affairs taken by the military authorities in Guinea-Bissau.
Fourthly, in the medium term, lasting peace and stability in Guinea-Bissau will be re-established through progress in other areas, such as the review of the Constitution, which should enable the Bissau- Guinean institutional system to avoid the impasses we have seen in recent months. Those areas also include the fight against organized crime, particularly drug-trafficking — which will not only require resolute commitment from the Guinea-Bissau authorities but also sustained support from the international community, especially the various United Nations actors on the ground — as well as security sector reform, without which there can be no long-term stability in the country, as recent history has shown.
My fifth and last point is that France fully supports the strategic review of the United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Guinea-Bissau that has begun under the leadership of former Special Representative Mr. João Honwana. We hope the process will be guided by an unrestricted and objective evaluation of the situation and the needs on the ground independent of the positions that the various stakeholders have expressed on the issue in the past few months. We view this as a useful opportunity to reflect on how to strengthen the scope of the good-offices role of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, improve coordination among the various international community actors on the ground and provide the most effective possible technical support, which Guinea- Bissau needs more than ever.
It is still too early to say whether Guinea-Bissau is safely on the path to long-term stability. The next few months, and the legislative elections of November in particular, will supply more answers to our questions in that regard. The supportive role played by the region and, more broadly, by the international community and the Security Council, is all the more important in this decisive period.