The peacebuilding process in Guinea-Bissau remains to be consolidated [fr]
Statement by Mr. Antoine Michon, Political Coordinator of France to the United Nations
Security Council - 10 September 2019
First, I wish to thank Ms. Bintou Keita, Assistant-Secretary-General for Africa, and Ambassador Mauro Vieira, Chair of the Guinea-Bissau configuration of the Peacebuilding Commission, for their briefings.
I would like to take this opportunity to welcome the positive developments in Guinea-Bissau and to encourage the Bissau-Guinean actors to continue their efforts to consolidate the still fragile advances.
France in particular welcomes the holding of legislative elections in March, which was a major step forward. Although the post-election situation remains fragile, the responsible and commendable behaviour of all Bissau-Guinean civilian and military actors created a good environment for the elections.
These developments are indicators of the effectiveness of international community support. In that regard, I would like to acknowledge the decisive role of the Group of Five — the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the African Union, the Community of Portuguese-speaking Countries, the European Union and the United Nations — in achieving those results. I would like to pay tribute to ECOWAS in particular, whose unwavering political, economic and military commitment has borne fruit, and which remains very involved in supporting its neighbours. I would also like to highlight the role of the Peacebuilding Commission, under the leadership of Ambassador Vieira, and that of its Fund.
The Security Council sent a mission to the country in February, co-organized by Côte d’Ivoire and Equatorial Guinea, which was important because it showed the Council’s support for the holding of elections under good conditions. Those developments show that the tools we have collectively deployed in response to this crisis, including sanctions, have been effective.
As the United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Guinea-Bissau (UNIOGBIS) enters the last year of its mandate, France expresses its support for the new Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Guinea-Bissau, Ms. Rosine Sori-Coulibaly, who can count on our support in her efforts to support the Bissau-Guinean actors and implement the UNIOGBIS transition plan agreed in the Council.
Despite the progress I have mentioned, the political process in Guinea-Bissau must be consolidated. In particular, it is critical that the presidential elections be held in a peaceful atmosphere on the scheduled dates — the first round on 24 November and the second round on 29 December. Adhering to that electoral timetable is key to avoiding a new political crisis. We therefore expect the Bissau-Guinean authorities to continue to mobilize fully in the technical preparations for the elections. In particular, it is absolutely essential to ensure the proper organization of the National Electoral Commission and to rapidly reach consensus on the revision of the electoral lists. Those elections will close the electoral cycle, and their success, in our view, is a necessary precondition for progress on the sanctions front, as mentioned in the Secretary-General’s report (S/2019/664).In addition, the restoration of lasting peace and stability in Guinea-Bissau requires progress in other areas. In that regard, I would recall the importance of the swift implementation of all the political reforms provided for in the 2016 Conakry Agreement.
Moreover, as several speakers have noted, the fight against organized crime, in general, and drug trafficking, in particular, requires a resolute commitment from the Bissau-Guinean authorities and the continued support of the international community. The seizure of a large amount of cocaine, as mentioned by Ms. Keita, is also an encouraging sign of that commitment.
Finally, the reform of the security sector, which has already begun, with the support of UNIOGBIS, is key. Recent history has shown that there can be no long-term stability in the country without comprehensive security sector reform.
We are therefore at a pivotal moment. The coming weeks should allow us to confirm that Guinea-Bissau is truly on the road to lasting stabilization. The supporting role of the countries of the region and, more broadly, of the international community and the Council will be critical in the coming period. The Bissau-Guinean authorities can count on France to support their efforts.