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Announcement Of Legislative Polls In Guinea-Bissau

Security Council welcomes announcement of legislative polls in Guinea-Bissau

27 March 2008 - The Security Council today welcomed this week's announcement that Guinea-Bissau will hold legislative elections in November and called on the Government of the impoverished West African country to both speed up its preparations for those polls and to continue its efforts to consolidate peace.

The 15-member panel "further appealed to the international community to provide the financial and material resources necessary to ensure the effective and timely organization of the polls," Ambassador Vitaly Churkin of Russia, which holds the rotating Council presidency this month, said in a statement to the press.

Shola Omoregie, the Secretary-General's Special Representative and the head of the UN Peacebuilding Support Office in Guinea-Bissau (UNOGBIS) briefed the Council yesterday on the latest developments, including the announcement by President João Bernardo Vieira on Tuesday that legislative elections will be held on 16 November.

In the statement, Mr. Churkin said Council members welcomed news that the UN Peacebuilding Commission, which tries to prevent countries emerging from war or misrule from sliding back into chaos, has established a strategic framework to determine how best to assist Guinea-Bissau, which has suffered from civil war, coups and widespread unrest in recent years.

UN officials have recently voiced deep concern about the impact of organized crime, illegal drug trafficking and the emerging threat of terrorism on Guinea-Bissau, one of the world's poorest countries, and today's statement from Council members praised the initiative of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to convene a regional conference on drug trafficking.

Council members also "appealed to the international community to assist the government and provide enhanced support and training for Guinea-Bissau's law enforcement and criminal justice system within the wider framework of security sector reform and the fight against organized crime, drug trafficking and terrorism."

ENDS

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