Guinea-Bissau still faces major challenges but remains peaceful, Annan reports
Although Guinea-Bissau continues to face major political, economic and financial challenges, the country remains peaceful, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan says in a just-released report to the Security Council.
“I am encouraged by the fact that, despite serious economic difficulties, political leaders have pursued the path of agreement through debate,” the Secretary-General said in his latest report on the UN Peace-building Support Office in Guinea-Bissau (UNOGBIS).
“I trust that these trends will continue and that the parties will honour agreements reached,” he adds.
Stressing that the Constitution should be the cornerstone of peaceful order in Guinea-Bissau, the Secretary-General notes that regrettably, confusion persists about the current impasse over constitutional issues.
“It is not even clear where responsibility for taking the constitutional process forward lies,” Mr. Annan observes, urging the executive and legislative branches of Government to come together in the national interest and to reach a compromise soon.
Meanwhile, the Secretary-General says that peace-building is clearly “difficult, perhaps impossible,” unless it is based on a firm economic foundation. “The efforts of the Government of President [Kumba] Yalá to build peace and democracy in Guinea-Bissau are also being handicapped by the limited resources available to the Government,” he writes. “Clearly, concern about financial management is an issue of deep concern to the international community, and the Government should address it as a matter of priority.”
Mr. Annan renews his appeal to the international community to provide Guinea-Bissau with budgetary assistance and to support “a programme of renewal and rehabilitation of economic, social and cultural infrastructure, as well as a sustained programme of technical assistance to strengthen the key institutions of the State.”