1. The present report, submitted pursuant to paragraph 22 of Security Council resolution 2343 (2017), is my third report on the progress made by Guinea-Bissau with regard to the stabilization and restoration of constitutional order in the country. It provides an update on relevant developments since my previous report, of 16 August 2016 (S/2016/720), and includes recommendations on the continuation of the sanctions regime, pursuant to Council resolution 2343 (2017) and in line with paragraph 12 of resolution 2048 (2012).
2. In fulfilment of the above request from the Security Council, the Department of Political Affairs undertook an assessment, in cooperation with the United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Guinea-Bissau (UNIOGBIS). During the same period, the Chair of the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 2048 (2012) concerning Guinea-Bissau visited Bissau from 13 to 15 June 2017. The Secretary of the Committee participated in the Chair’s meetings with key stakeholders.
II. Key findings
3. Since my previous report, the political impasse in Guinea-Bissau has remained unresolved and continues to limit progress with regard to the consolidation of constitutional order. Despite the deployment of considerable mediation and facilitation efforts by international partners, in particular the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the United Nations, national stakeholders have so far failed to agree on a consensual way forward. The impasse continues to discourage international donors from committing financial resources to the country. While constitutional order is not directly threatened so far, the lack of progress in implementing the Conakry Agreement on the Implementation of the Economic Community of West African States Roadmap for the Resolution of the Political Crisis in Guinea Bissau and the chronic institutional crisis continue to give rise to serious concern.
4. The recommendations on the continuation of United Nations sanctions contained in my previous report remain valid and relevant in the light of the unresolved political situation in Guinea-Bissau. The recommendations include the maintenance of the present sanctions regime to signal to the entire population that measures are applicable to all spoilers, regardless of their political or institutional affiliation, and that the Council adjusts the measures and designations as needed; the establishment of a panel of experts to support the Committee’s work; the establishment of clear benchmarks for lifting sanctions; and a review of the situation with respect to the designated individuals to determine if they continue to meet the listing criteria.
5. There is still broad consensus that sanctions have played a positive role and acted as a deterrent to the direct involvement of the security and defence forces in political affairs. However, some local interlocutors support the idea that the sanctions currently imposed on individuals should be reviewed on account of their commendable behaviour since 2012, and that those responsible for the current political impasse should instead be designated for targeted measures.
6. The military continues to respect the constitutional order and maintains a politically neutral role. However, the risk of an intervention by the military may increase, in particular if the political deadlock persists, reforms of relevant sectors are not implemented, the civilians’ protests become violent, the security situation deteriorates, and/or the budgetary situation prevents the payment of salaries to soldiers and officials.