Guinea: UN works for calm and dialogue ahead of elections
The United Nations envoy for West Africa met Thursday with a range of Guinean stakeholders to explore ways to resume inclusive political dialogue in the interest of the peaceful preparation and conduct of upcoming legislative elections.
Said Djinnit, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for West Africa, also appealed to those who planned to participants in demonstrations Thursday to ensure that any protests take place in a peaceful manner and in accordance with the law, and called on all parties in the country to act with restraint.
In March, protests in the West African nation related to the polls led to several deaths and hundreds of injuries. Both Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the UN human rights office appealed for calm amid the violence and urged political actors in Guinea to pursue dialogue to create conditions for peaceful elections.
Djinnit, who heads the Dakar-based UN Office for West Africa (UNOWA), spent the past three days in Conakry, where he is supported by a team of UN experts. He is scheduled to return to the country early next week to continue his consultations.
The visit follows his appointment by Ban as facilitator for the UN as part of the college of facilitators established to help bring about inclusive political dialogue in Guinea.
Established in 2002, UNOWA is a political mission charged with enhancing the contributions of the UN towards the achievement of peace and security in West Africa, an important aspect of which is preventive diplomacy.
The Office has been involved in intensive diplomatic efforts in Guinea since a 2008 coup when Captain Moussa Dadis Camara seized power following the death of long-time president Lansana Conte.
It encouraged a return to constitutional rule via democratic elections held in 2010, which resulted in the election of Alpha Conde as President. A political impasse has blocked the holding of subsequent legislative elections, however.
(Posted on 19-04-2013)