Guinea-Bissau declared its independence on 24 September 1974 after thirteen years of war against the Portuguese colonial power, which left the country heavily burdened by the widespread unrest. Indeed, socio-economic problems, violent political overthrows and military coups have since then undermined the stability of Guinea-Bissau (GB). While no elected leader has served a full term since the independence of the country, hopes for stability continue to remain uncertain under the President-in-Office, Mr. Jose Mario Vaz, member from the Party for the Independence of Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde (PAIGC). One year after his election, GB has plunged into another cycle of instability with the dismissal of the PAIGC government in August 2015. In order to advance the transition process and end the political deadlock, Mr. Vaz recently appointed Mr. Sissoco Embalo as Prime Minister who shall remain in place until the 2018 parliamentary elections. In parallel, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), in cooperation with the United Nations (UN), undertook several initiatives aimed at finding a peaceful political solution to the crisis in the framework of the Conakry Agreement of October 2016. The agreement provides for a ‘consensual process’ to find common ground for a resolution of the political crisis. In this regard, the UN Security Council (UNSC) extended the mandate of the United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Guinea-Bissau (UNIOGBIS) in its Resolution 2343, to bring the authorities of GB and all-stakeholders to work together to engage in dialogue, build stable institutions and achieve greater economic prosperity.
As a platform for dialogue for all relevant actors, the Peacebuilding Commission (PBC) held an Ambassadorial meeting on 10 May 2017 to update the participants on the current situation in GB and discussed about the implementation process of the Conakry Agreement. The meeting was attended by the Chair of the PBC Guinea-Bissau Configuration, Assistant Secretary-General for the Peacebuilding Support Office (PBSO), Permanent Representative of GB, the Secretary-General and Head of UNIOGBIS, Chair of ECOWAS and Executive Secretary of the Community of Portuguese Language Countries. They all expressed their concerns about the non-implementation of the Conakry Agreement and urged all the stakeholders to take further action. Given the gravity of the situation, Senegal requested the UNSC to discuss the political deadlock in GB on 11 May 2017. The members of the UNSC expressed their support to ECOWAS, the PBC and the Head of UNIOBIS, and welcomed their engagement to work closely with all stakeholders for the resolution of the Bissau-Guinean issue. However, they also expressed their deep concern over the political crisis resulting of the inability to each consensual solution. They underscored the centrality of the Agreement and called all actors to respect it in order to prevent further deterioration of the situation. Moreover, the members of UNSC urged the international community to keep on providing support to GB after the withdrawal of ECOWAS mission in GB by the end of June 2017. As the time is running out, necessary measures must urgently be taken to implement the Agreement before the situation worsens.
Read the complete report on the meeting here.
This update was written by Anne-Laure Méar.