Swedish statement at the UN Security Council Briefing on UNIOGBIS
National statement delivered by Ambassador Carl Skau on behalf of Sweden at the United Nations Security Council Briefing on the United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Guinea-Bissau (UNIOGBIS), 14 February 2018, New York.
I would like to begin by thanking the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Modibo Touré for his informative briefing. I commend you and your team for the valuable work you are undertaking in support of the people of Guinea-Bissau. Let me also extend my thanks to the Ambassador of Brazil, Mauro Vieira, in his role as Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission's Guinea-Bissau configuration.
Since the Ambassador of Brazil mentioned his country's long standing relations with Guinea-Bissau, I thought I should take the opportunity to point out that Sweden also recognized Guinea-Bissau back in August 1974, and supported the General Assembly resolution on self-rule in 1968. In the seventies and eighties Guinea-Bissau was one of our largest development cooperation partner countries. So there is a deep history and friendship between Sweden and the people of Guinea-Bissau. It is in that spirit of friendship that we are engaging in support for Guinea-Bissau meeting the complex challenges of today.
We welcome the opportunity to draw upon the strategic advice of the Peacebuilding Commission and its longer-term perspective, which is essential for sustaining peace in Guinea-Bissau. The activities being financed by the Peacebuilding Fund towards this end are also important. An integrated approach from the UN family in Guinea-Bissau can contribute positively to overcoming peacebuilding challenges. We welcome the efforts in this regard outlined in the Secretary-General's report.
We are concerned by the ongoing and increasingly protracted political crisis in Guinea-Bissau.
A lack of progress in resolving the stalemate undermines peacebuilding efforts and is holding the country's social and economic development hostage. Resolving the crises is a prerequisite for the consolidation of peace in the country.
The Six-Point Bissau Roadmap and the Conakry Agreement remain the only legitimate way forward, and must be implemented. The appointment of a consensus Prime Minister, as stipulated by the Agreement, is essential. National leaders must live up to their commitments and meet their responsibilities.
We strongly commend the efforts of ECOWAS to mediate amongst the parties to find a solution to the political crisis. ECOWAS is playing an essential role on behalf of the region, and we welcome its continued efforts to reach a consensual implementation of the roadmap and Conakry Agreement. We welcome the ECOWAS decision to impose sanctions on those impeding the Agreement's implementation. It is important that the international community fully supports regional efforts in a concerted and coherent manner. In this regard, we welcome the statement issued yesterday by the African Union in support of ECOWAS, including regarding to sanctions.
Long term peace and security in Guinea-Bissau will only be achieved when the root causes of the conflict are addressed. Constitutional reform, reconciliation and political dialogue, strengthening the rule of law through strong and inclusive institutions, and ensuring equal access to economic opportunities are all critical in this regard. It is also essential that all parts of society have their voices heard; in particular, ensuring the full and effective participation of women is crucial.
We agree with the Secretary-General that the promotion and respect for human rights is fundamental to sustaining peace and ensuring long-term stability and development in Guinea-Bissau. We echo the Secretary-General's call on national authorities to respect human rights and fundamental freedoms and to refrain from any further acts that undermine the rule of law. Let me also take a moment to welcome the military's neutrality and its posture of non-interference in the political process.
Turning to the role of UNIOGBIS:
UNIOGBIS has a crucial role to play regarding the coordination of international efforts in support of Guinea-Bissau, not least in support of the preparations for elections. There is a need to immediately refocus the office's resources where they can be used most effectively, particularly when it comes to resolving the political deadlock and supporting the electoral process to move forward.
We strongly support the office's work to strengthen women's participation as active peacemakers in resolving the political crisis, including by encouraging women's mediation efforts. We welcome, in particular, that the integration of gender-sensitive perspectives into the work of UNIOGBIS and the UN Country Team has been accorded the "highest priority" by the United Nations in Guinea-Bissau. Look forward to hearing more about how this process is being taken forward.
During the Peacebuilding Commission meeting on Guinea-Bissau on Monday, all key actors, including Guinea-Bissau, expressed the view that the Secretary-General's recommendation for a one-year extension of UNIOGBIS's mandate should be authorised. A one-year extension would allow for longer term planning and strategizing by the mission on how it can best support the Conakry Agreement and the elections.
The political crisis in Guinea-Bissau has gone on for too far long. It is now time to move forward with the full implementation of the Conakry Agreement and the preparation of inclusive elections. The international community, with the region, must stand ready to support the country on its path towards long term peace and development.
I thank you.