Security Council extends UN political mission in Guinea-Bissau
The United Nations Security Council on Wednesday extended the mandate of the United Nations political mission in Guinea-Bissau to assist in finding solutions to the political and economic crisis being exacerbated by additional challenges posed by transnational crime, in particular drug trafficking and money laundering.
The 15-member council voted unanimously to extend through 31 May 2014 the work of the UN Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Guinea-Bissau (UNIOGBIS) to support efforts focused on fully restoring constitutional order and medium-term stability in the country recovering from a military coup.
This is in line with the suggestions that UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon made in his latest report. Presenting that report to the Council earlier in the month, Jose Ramos Horta, head of UNIOGBIS, said that if appropriate support is given towards more pro-active preventive diplomacy programmes, "Guinea-Bissau could become a shining example of a success story."
In Wednesday's resolution, the Council requested Mr. Ban to "increase efforts to achieve greater coherence, coordination and efficiency among relevant United Nations agencies, funds and programs in Guinea-Bissau to maximize their collective effectiveness toward combating drug trafficking."
The Council also called on Guinea-Bissau authorities "to review, adopt and implement national legislations and mechanisms" to more effectively stem the flow of drugs and illegal funds in and out of the country, particularly through additional support to the Transnational Crime Unit (TCU) established under the West Africa Coast Initiative (WACI).
The international community was urged to enhance cooperation with Guinea-Bissau to more effectively ensure control of its air traffic and surveillance of maritime security within its jurisdiction.
Among other key points, the Council emphasized the importance of organizing an international pledging conference on the recovery of Guinea-Bissau after the holding of free, fair and transparent elections.
According to recommendations in the Secretary-General's report, the first phase of the restoration of constitutional order and stability would culminate in presidential and legislative elections, and focus on creating "a political environment built on confidence and non-interference in the electoral process."
Mr. Horta has said he expects elections to be held by November.
Soldiers in Guinea-Bissau - a West African country with a history of coups, misrule and political instability since it gained independence from Portugal in 1974 - seized power on 12 April 2012.
The coup d'etat came ahead of a presidential run-off election that was slated for 22 April between Carlos Gomes Junior and a former President, Kumba Yala, prompting calls from the international community for a return to civilian rule.
(Posted on 23-05-2013)