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Concern About GuineaBissau's Political Development

Security Council Expresses Concern About Guinea-Bissau's Political Developments

Recognizing progress in Guinea-Bissau, the United Nations Security Council today called on those involved in the West African country's politics to commit themselves unequivocally to a peaceful electoral process and free, peaceful, transparent and fair elections.

The parties should refrain "from inspiring or promoting any sort of ethnic or religious hostilities, particularly with a view to obtaining political gains," it said in a statement read by the Council President for March, Brazilian Ambassador Ronaldo Mota Sardenberg.

The Council expressed concern at recent political developments, especially the Partido da Renovação Social's (PRS) nomination of ex-President Koumba Yala as its presidential candidate. The decision challenged the Transitional Charter and could jeopardize the process leading up to presidential elections scheduled for June, it said.

In a report to the Security Council at the end of 2003, Secretary-General Kofi Annan said the removal that September of democratically elected President Yala, "however reprehensible," took place after "constitutional norms were repeatedly violated." Just over a year later the military mutinied briefly.

Peace efforts have not yielded enough social and economic dividends to benefit the population and discourage the use of force, the Council said.

With regard to security sector reform, the Council re-affirmed the role of the UN Peacebuilding Support Office in Guinea-Bissau (UNOGBIS) in supporting the effort and welcomed initial measures taken by the Chief of General Staff in promoting reconciliation within the military.

The Council encouraged "full inclusiveness and renewed commitment to reconciliation in the armed forces and development of constructive civilian-military relations based on the armed forces as an institution subordinated to the elected civilian authorities."

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