Guinea-Bissau parties pull back from brink following coup d’état – UN official

29 September 2003
ASG Kalomoh briefs Security Council

The civil and military groups in Guinea-Bissau “seem to have pulled back from the brink” but the country will need international assistance to ensure a successful transition to civilian rule following a coup d’état in that country earlier this month, a senior United Nations official told the Security Council today.

In an update of the situation in Guinea-Bissau, Tuliameni Kalomoh, Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs, said that a civilian president and a civilian prime minister, selected by the leadership of a 14 September military coup d’état, were sworn in Sunday.

“The political class, the military and the organizations of civil society seem to have pulled back from the brink and have agreed on a truce and a consensus solution for transition. There now seems to be a genuine atmosphere of give and take, which augurs well for the future, Mr. Kalomoh said during an open meeting of the Security Council.

“But serious social and economic tensions persist and will require careful management. The urgent task for the international community is to help ensure a successful transition.”

Mr. Kalomoh reported that a Political Transitional Charter, signed yesterday by the military and 23 of the nation’s 24 recognized parties, calls for legislative elections to he held within six months, and presidential elections to be organized within one year of the swearing-in of the new deputies.

He said the selection of Henrique Rosa, an economist, as the Transitional President was “favourably received by all stakeholders,” but the appointment of Arthur Sanha, a former Minister of the Interior and a secretary-general of the previous ruling party was opposed by members of other parties and “has proved to be highly controversial.”

The Council then heard from José Ramos-Horta, Foreign Minister of Timor-Leste and Special Envoy of the Community of Portuguese-Speaking Countries (CPLP) to Guinea-Bissau, as well as representatives from Guinea-Bissau and the members of the Council.


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