Security Council president says Guinea-Bissau facing failure

22 October 2004

The international community must cooperate in helping Guinea-Bissau, which is at “grave risk” of becoming a failed State, the permanent representative of the United Kingdom, which holds the rotating Security Council presidency for October, said today.

Speaking to journalists after the Council was briefed by Assistant-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Tuliameni Kalomoh on developments in Guinea-Bissau, British Ambassador Sir Emyr Jones Parry recalled that he had led a Council mission there in June and had first-hand knowledge of the situation.

It was a country “where we have an interest, as the international community, in coming together and trying to take it forward,” he said.

Secretary-General Kofi Annan has deplored the actions by a group of mutinous soldiers in Guinea- Bissau that led to the death several weeks ago of the country's armed forces chief of staff, Gen. Verissimo Correia Seabra.

The British ambassador predicted the adoption of a formal Security Council presidential statement next week calling for the UN system’s concerted action to support the country.

“States in this position need help,” Ambassador Jones Parry said. “If we don’t help them, we pay the consequences.”

A donors' UN conference for Guinea-Bissau is scheduled to be held before the end of the year in an effort to promote stability in the former Portuguese colony, which has been plagued by both outright conflict and long-simmering political and social tensions since gaining independence in 1974.