Security Council calls for respect of institutions during transition

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13 January 2012 – The Security Council today encouraged the Government, political parties and people of Guinea-Bissau to respect the country’s legal institutions during the transition following the death of President Malam Bacai Sanhá and ensure peaceful, timely and fair presidential elections.

In a statement read out to the press by Ambassador Doctor Mashabane of South Africa, which holds the Council’s rotating presidency for this month, the 15-member body encouraged the Government to pursue political dialogue to preserve stability and promote national reconciliation.

Mr. Sanhá, 64, died on Monday in Paris, where he had been receiving medical treatment.

Members of the Security Council reiterated their call on the armed forces to respect civilian rule and urged the authorities to intensify efforts to create an enabling environment for enhanced civilian control over the security forces and to combat impunity.

They called on the Government to continue to pursue important reforms for the consolidation of peace and stability in Guinea-Bissau, especially regarding the security sector, with particular attention to the launch of a pension fund for the armed forces and efforts to counter drug trafficking.

The Council welcomed the announcement by Prime Minister Gomes Junior that the first phase of the demobilization of military officers will commence on 23 January.

It expressed its commitment to continue to closely follow the situation in Guinea-Bissau and called on the UN Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Guinea-Bissau (UNIOGBIS) to work with the authorities, as well as with other international partners to prepare and support the forthcoming elections and reforms.