Guinea-Bissau: UN warns of tension building ahead of presidential poll

Guinea-Bissau: UN warns of tension building ahead of presidential poll

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The United Nations Peace-Building Office in Guinea-Bissau (UNOGBIS) today warned that "the current verbal escalation among the political actors" is endangering the political process in the small West African country ahead of presidential elections next March after years of conflict, including a coup d'état last year.

"The Office calls on all political actors to show restraint and to settle all disputes in a peaceful manner as provided for by the law," it said in a statement, offering to help ease the current tension in the framework of its mandate.

UNOGBIS, first set up in 1999, seeks to promote dialogue and national reconciliation and strengthen the country's fragile democratic institutions to first manage conflicts peacefully and then to establish conflict-prevention mechanisms to safeguard constitutional law and order and to ensure political stability.

In his latest report on the country in June, Secretary-General Kofi Annan stressed the fragility of the democratization process.

In March Guinea-Bissau held legislative elections, and the Security Council commended the Government for completing that transitional phase of the process.