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Guinea-Bissau: Security Council encourages President to pursue reconciliation efforts

Guinea-Bissau: Security Council encourages President to pursue reconciliation efforts

Security Council members today encouraged the President of Guinea-Bissau, Kumba Yala, in his efforts to pursue a policy of national reconciliation and dialogue in the West African country.

Council members also encouraged the current chairman of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and leaders of the subregion, as well as the friends of Guinea-Bissau, "to continue playing an active role and to redouble their initiatives of good offices for economic and financial assistance," Ambassador Jagdish Koonjul of Mauritius, the current President of the 15-nation body, said in a press statement.

They also voiced support for the demobilization of former combatants and their reintegration into civilian life, he added.

Expressing their appreciation to the Bretton Woods institutions - the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) - for their flexibility and understanding, Council members called on the Guinea-Bissau Government to pursue fruitful collaboration with these organizations. Council members welcomed the proposal for a roundtable conference to be organized as soon as the political situation allowed it and called on donor countries to contribute generously when it is held.

The statement expressed support to the team of the UN Peace-building Support Office (UNOGBIS) "for their tireless efforts to help the peacebuilding process in Guinea-Bissau on course despite multiple challenges."

The President issued the statement after the Council had met in closed-door consultations for a briefing by UN Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Ibrahima Fall on Secretary-General Kofi Annan's report on the situation in the country and the activities of UNOGBIS.

Following Mr. Fall's briefing, the Council also heard a progress report on the situation in Ethiopia and Eritrea by UN Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Hédi Annabi.

Ambassador Koonjul said later in separate remarks to journalists that Council members welcomed positive elements contained in the report and that they were considering for adoption later this week a presidential statement concerning the two countries.