ECOWAS MISSION TO GUINEA BISSAU TO ASSESS THE IMPLEMENTATION OF CONAKRY AND BISSAU AGREEMENTS
At the request of His Excellency Mr Faure Essozimna Gnassingbe, President of the Togolese Republic, current Chairman of the Authority of Heads of State and Government, a high-level delegation led by H.E. Prof. Robert Dussey, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Cooperation and African Integration of the Togolese Republic, and Chair of the ECOWAS Council of Ministers, fielded a mission to Bissau on 1st and 2nd December 2017.
The main objective of the mission was to assess, with the stakeholders in the Guinea Bissau crisis, the level of implementation of the Conakry and Bissau Agreements for the purpose of presenting it at the forthcoming ECOWAS statutory meetings slated for Abuja, Nigeria, from 12 to 16 December 2017.
In addition to the head of Togolese diplomacy, the high-level delegation also comprised the Senior Minister, Secretary-General in the Office of the President of Guinea, representing the ECOWAS Mediator for Guinea Bissau; the representative of the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Senegal, alongside the President of the ECOWAS Commission.
Following the meetings and discussions with stakeholders involved in the crisis, and pending the decisions that would ensue from the presentation of the report to the Council of Ministers and the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government, the delegation:
- Observes that the three-month deadline given to the Guinea Bissau authorities at the Monrovia Summit in June 2017 for consultations to be held within the country with a view to reaching a consensual solution to the crisis expired on 3 September 2017, without being implemented. Notes also the commitment made at the Summit by the Guinea Bissau authorities to present an end-of-crisis plan was not complied with.
- Expresses its deep concern over the protracted political crisis in the country and the attendant protests, police crackdowns;
- Urges the parties to respect public freedom, particularly the right to peaceful demonstrations;
- Emphasises the need for stakeholders in the Guinea Bissau crisis to work resolutely towards the effective implementation of the Bissau and Conakry Agreements;
- Invites Guinea Bissau political leaders, including the President of the Republic, Speaker of the National Assembly and political party leaders to exercise utmost restraint, as statesmen and responsible citizens and respect the country’s Constitution to find a solution to the current political stalemate which threatens the fragile progress made in the consolidation of peace and stability in Guinea Bissau;
- Also emphasises the importance of organising free, fair and credible elections within the time-frame laid down by the Constitution and, to that end, urges all Guinea Bissau stakeholders to put the supreme interests of their country and people above all other considerations and create an enabling environment for conducting legislative elections in 2018;
- Leaves the application of collective and individual sanctions as well as keeping or disengaging the ECOWAS Military Mission (ECOMIB) at the discretion of the Heads of State and Government, after the consideration of this mission’s report at their 52nd Summit scheduled to hold in Abuja on 16 December 2017;
- Commends Guinea Bissau’s defence and security forces for their neutrality with respect to the political stakeholders, and urges them to maintain the status quo;
- Notes with appreciation, the cooperation between our regional organisation and the United Nations, African Union, European Union and CPLP.