Distinguished Members of the Council,
As part of UNIOGBIS efforts to assist in resolving the political crisis, I have continued to engage with multiple stakeholders in furtherance of the Secretary-General’s good offices, including through meetings with regional Heads of State to advocate for support to Guinea-Bissau. I also convened several meetings with the AU, the CPLP, ECOWAS and the EU, as well as with key bilateral partners and national stakeholders, to promote the coordination of mediation efforts to break the political gridlock. I have been greatly encouraged by the commitment of all international partners to remain engaged in the country.
I am pleased to note the collective commitment by national stakeholders to engage in dialogue. The ongoing political impasse can and must be resolved. The parties to the crisis should be urged to honour their commitment to make the necessary sacrifices and concessions needed to end the parliamentary standoff and put the government machinery back on track. In this regard, I call upon political leaders to put partisan considerations aside and focus on the national interest as well as the welfare of the suffering population.
I am also pleased that the military continues to demonstrate restraint and neutrality in the face of the political stalemate. Many of them look forward to receiving pledged support for their demobilization and socio-economic reintegration. For the stability of Guinea-Bissau, we must not fail them.
While addressing the current impasse remains the immediate priority, breaking the stalemate should also provide the opportunity to the political actors of Guinea-Bissau to reflect on ways of ending the recurrent cycle of institutional paralysis and ensuring sustainable stability. This can only be achieved through genuine and inclusive dialogue among the citizenry. Such an exercise has the potential to stabilize institutions and pave the way for tackling related priorities, including justice and reconciliation, the restructuring of the judicial and human rights architecture, the reform of the defence and security sectors, and the fight against drug trafficking and other forms of transnational organized crime.
In this connection, it is heartening to note that preparations for the National Conference are on course. Earlier this month, a delegation of the Organizing Commission of the National Conference, with funding from the Peacebuilding Fund, visited Timor-Leste to learn from the country’s experiences in national dialogue and transitional justice processes. This experience will no doubt feed into the impending dialogue.
As we all know, there is no development without stability. The path to stability will require a pragmatic and integrated approach. This means that in addition to the current focus on achieving stability from the top down, we should also invest energy and resources to foster stability from the bottom up. To this end, I call upon the donor community to consider allocating more resources to the social sectors, including health and education, and to programmes that empower women and create opportunities for the youth.
The people of Guinea-Bissau are resilient, peaceful, decent and hard working. All they aspire to is mainly to improve their daily lot and overcome the harshness of poverty. These aspirations should not be held back or constrained by political contingencies. While we continue to work with the Bissau-Guineans for the return to full stability, we should design resilient policies and programmes for their benefit that would be impervious to fragility and instability.
The people of Guinea-Bissau are counting on the support of this august body and that of the international community at large.
I thank you very much for the attention.
Original version in French.