Security Council Briefing: UNIOGBIS

Statement by Lise Gregoire-van Haaren,
Deputy Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United Nations

New York, 14 February 2018

Mr. President,

Let me firstly thank the Special Representative Modibo Touré and Mauro Vieira in his capacity of Chair of the PBC configuration on Guinea-Bissau for their briefings.

Mr. President,

For years now, Guinea-Bissau has been marked by protracted political crises. In a region characterized by increasing attention and respect for the rule of law, human rights and democracy, Guinea-Bissau continues to fall out of tune – as indicated, once again, in the Secretary-General’s latest report.   

In the light of this, the Kingdom of the Netherlands wishes to underscore the following three points with regards to the situation in Guinea-Bissau:

  • Firstly, the Conakry Agreement of 2016 and the six-point roadmap should remain the basis for a political solution in Guinea-Bissau and its provisions should be honored;
  • Secondly, the diplomatic and political efforts of the region through ECOWAS deserve the United Nations’, and particularly this Council’s steadfast support;
  • And thirdly, the role of UNIOGBIS in Guinea-Bissau at this critical juncture, with elections around the corner, is important as ever before – it is therefore imperative that its mandate be extended.

Mr. President,

Firstly, on the Conakry Agreement. Almost a year and half have passed since the Conakry Agreement was concluded. The Kingdom of the Netherlands reiterates the centrality of this Agreement in peacefully resolving the current crisis and urges the parties to abide by its contents.

It is clear that an important roadblock with regard to its implementation is the appointment of a consensus Prime Minister. The need for this appointment has become increasingly urgent. With parliamentary elections around the corner, it is imperative that these can be held in a timely, transparent and inclusive manner.

Mr. President,

My second point concerns the support to ECOWAS. While the past six months were mainly characterized by the same intransigence as in previous reporting periods, concerted action and increased pressure by the region, and ECOWAS in particular, could actually lead, when given the necessary support, to tangible progress in resolving the Bissau-Guinean crisis.

Yesterday, the AU PSC decision to support ECOWAS efforts is a case in point. The Secretary-General rightly observes in his report that the continuing efforts of ECOWAS to resolve the crisis are commendable.

The Kingdom of the Netherlands would like to clearly point out that it supports and endorses ECOWAS mediation efforts and its imposition of sanctions. We welcome ECOWAS’s unified action and we believe that the presence of ECOMIB is vital for the stability of Guinea-Bissau. ECOWAS has shown before that when united it has the ability to act as the region’s power broker, for example in The Gambia.

Like it did then, this Council should firmly support ECOWAS in taking up this role and responsibility. As it should in the case of any other regional organization in Africa that takes the lead in maintaining peace and security in the region.

Mr. President,

My third point is that ECOWAS cannot do this alone. We commend the AU, CPLC for their collaboration with the European Union and constructive role and support.

From the Secretary General’s report it is evident that UNIOGBIS plays a vital role in Guinea-Bissau. With legislative elections scheduled for 2018, and presidential elections in 2019, the role of UNIOGBIS is more crucial than ever.

We therefore call for a renewal of its mandate by no less than one year, also to allow for longer term planning, including setting more concrete priorities for the mission and adaptations to meet the specific needs.

UNIOGBIS’ convening power in Bissau remains essential, as will be its role in ensuring peaceful, free and democratic elections in Guinea-Bissau as well as a smooth post-election process. Renewing the mandate for less than 12 months would send the wrong signal.

Mr. President,

In conclusion, sustained pressure to implement the Conakry Accord, maximum support to the ongoing efforts and measures by ECOWAS and the continued support of UNIOGBIS to the political process, are imperative factors in ending the deadlock in Guinea-Bissau, particularly in light of constitutionally mandated elections.

Thank you very much.