Kofi Annan welcomes Guinea-Bissau election results

The following statement was issued today by the Spokesman for Secretary- General Kofi Annan:

The Secretary-General is pleased to learn that Guinea-Bissau's National Electoral Commission officially announced on 21 January the results of the second round of the presidential elections held on 16 January. The successful completion of those elections and the imminent swearing-in of the president-elect, Kumba Yala, not only brings to a close the transitional government established in accordance with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Abuja Peace Accord of 1 November 1998, but also ushers in a new democratic and peaceful political future for the country.

The Secretary-General commends the people of Guinea-Bissau as a whole for demonstrating a firm commitment to democracy and peace and for working harmoniously together to overcome the recent difficulties in their country. He extends warm congratulations to the president-elect, as well as to the interim President, Malam Bacai Sanha, for the positive and statesmanlike manner in which they conducted their electoral campaigns.

Guinea-Bissau will continue to need international cooperation and support to consolidate its newly restored democracy and to enhance its prospects for sustainable peace and development. The Secretary-General reaffirms continued United Nations support and appeals to the international community as a whole to provide urgently needed assistance to the new government.

The Secretary-General also wishes to express his appreciation to the international observers and all those who, in one way or another, contributed to the successful organization and conduct of Guinea-Bissau's recent elections.