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Amid Guinea Bissau Stand-Off, “Orchestra” in UNSC with Nigeria, Angola

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, August 12 -- The list of problems the UN can't solve or even impact grows ever longer, from Syria down to Burundi. But what about Guinea-Bissau, now that both Nigeria (that is, ECOWAS) and Angola, key to the Portuguese-speaking alliance CPLP, are on the Security Council?

  Inner City Press put the question to the Council's president for August, Nigeria's Joy Ogwu. She called it a good question, and said that now it is like an “orchestra” in the Security Council on Guinea Bissau. In the past, on the Council was Portugal - which is now threatening to cut aid to Guinea Bissau; still in the mix is Brazil, as chair of the UN Peacebuilding Configuration for Guinea-Bissau.

  Previous UN envoy Jose Ramos Horta has moved on, to head a panel on increasingly discredited UN Peacekeeping -- he still says he's “alarmed” by development in Guinea Bissau, adding there is no reason to dissolve the government, threatened by President José Mário Vaz over the objection of Prime Minister Domingos Simőes Pereira among others.

  From the orchestra, that is, from the Security Council, here was the Press Statement Ambassador Joy Ogwu read out at the Council stakeout on August 12:

The members of the Security Council were briefed on 10 August 2015 by Tayé-Brook Zerihoun, Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs, on the situation in Guinea-Bissau.

The members of the Security Council took note of the ongoing tension between (the President and the Prime Minister, which threatens to undermine the progress made in Guinea-Bissau since the restoration of constitutional order following elections in 2014. They further underscored that the Bissau-Guinean people deserve stable, inclusive and co-operative institutions that act in the best interests of all Bissau-Guineans.

The members of the Security Council call on all of Guinea-Bissau’s political leadership, including the President and Prime Minister, to resume dialogue in order to work together in the governance of Guinea-Bissau as it emerges from previous periods of instability.

The members of the Security Council re-emphasized the importance of political stakeholders to engage in continuous and constructive dialogue within the established constitutional parameters.

The members of the Security Council recalled resolution 2203 (2015), and stressed the importance of national reconciliation, inclusive dialogue and good governance, and continued civilian control of government as essential for the attainment of lasting peace in Guinea-Bissau. They further stressed that the consolidation of peace and stability in Guinea-Bissau can only result from a consensual, inclusive and nationally owned process and respect for constitutional order that places the Bissau-Guinean people first.

The members of the Security Council welcomed ongoing efforts of regional and international actors, including, ECOWAS, the AU, the UN and its Guinea Bissau peace building Commission, the CPLP, and the EU to encourage dialogue among Guinea-Bissau’s political leadership. They particularly welcomed the efforts of Senegalese President Sall, Guinean President Conde, and Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of UNIOGBIS Trovoada in this regard.

The members of the Security Council recalled the Council’s commitment to support the authorities of Guinea-Bissau and noted that the pledges made at the March 2015, Brussels International Donor Conference require a stable political environment in order to most effectively materialize.
The members of the Security Council commended the peaceful way Guinea Bissau's population, including, civil society and the military, are following the political situation in the country.


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