The United Nations Security Council has urged all national stakeholders in Guinea-Bissau to facilitate the conduct of peaceful and credible elections on 13 April, when citizens of the West African nation will participate in long-delayed president and legislative elections.
In a statement issued to the press on Thursday, Council members also urged national stakeholders to respect the results of the polls “as an expression of the will of the people of Guinea-Bissau” in line with the country’s agreed electoral code.
“They also called upon them to refrain from any action that could hamper the electoral process and to live up to their responsibilities in the interest of lasting peace and development in Guinea-Bissau.”
The statement followed a briefing received by the 15-member body earlier in the day in a closed-door session by Jeffrey Feltman, the Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, on the situation in Guinea-Bissau.
The elections, which have been postponed several times, are seen as a crucial step on the path to restoring constitutional order in Guinea-Bissau, which is recovering from an April 2012 coup.
Council members welcomed the successful conclusion of the voter registration process, and acknowledged that funding and preparations for the elections were “well on track.”
At the same time, they condemned the episodes of political violence and intimidation in Guinea-Bissau, in particular the kidnap and assault of a member of the Party for Social Renewal (PRS).
In addition, Council members renewed their call on all security services to respect the constitutional order, including the electoral process, and to submit themselves fully to civilian control.
They also urged all elements of Guinea Bissau’s political and military leaders “to refrain from attempts to interfere with or influence the electoral process, and to refrain from violence or intimidation of candidates.”
Further, they recalled their readiness to consider further measures, as necessary, including targeted sanctions against both civilian and military individuals who undermine efforts to restore constitutional order.