Guinea-Bissau: Security Council stresses early preparations for upcoming elections

Guinea-Bissau: Security Council stresses early preparations for upcoming elections

Voicing concern at the constitutional impasse and the increasing political instability in Guinea-Bissau, the members of the United Nations Security Council today stressed the need to start preparations for the upcoming elections as soon as possible.

The Council's President, Ambassador Alfonso Valdivieso of Colombia, said in a press statement that the members endorsed Secretary-General Kofi Annan's appeal to organize a speedy election for the President and Vice-President of the country's Supreme Court, "which will be a concrete manifestation of the Government's commitment to the rule of law and respect for human rights."

They also appealed to the Government to ensure that the forthcoming legislative elections are conducted in a "transparent, fair and credible manner," Ambassador Valdivieso said, adding that it is important that a new Constitution be promulgated "without delay."

In addition, Council members expressed concern at the serious economic situation in the country. "They call on the Government of Guinea-Bissau to take the necessary steps to facilitate a constructive dialogue with the international community and call on the latter to stand ready to provide assistance," Ambassador Valdivieso said.

Members were also concerned by information regarding the harassment of civilians by security forces, as well as the financial difficulties of the demobilization, reinsertion and reintegration programme, the Council President said.

Earlier Wednesday, the Council heard a briefing by Mr. Stephens on the situation in Guinea-Bissau.