Statement by H. E. Ambassador Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti Permanent Representative of Brazil to the United Nations

Chair of the Guinea-Bissau Configuration of the 
Peacebuilding Commission

Security Council, 5 November 2010

Mr. President,

I thank you for the invitation to brief the Security Council in my capacity as Chair of the Guinea-Bissau Configuration of the Peacebuilding Commission. I extend a warm welcome to the Permanent Representative of Guinea-Bissau to the United Nations, Ambassador Joćo Soares da Gama. I also thank SRSG Joseph Mutaboba for his remarks and his work as head of UNIOGBIS. I also welcome the Special Representative of the President of the African Union, Sebastićo Isata.

Mr. President,

The events of 1 April and the Government’s response to them raised concerns in the international community. Guinea-Bissau’s partners believe that it is important for the country to show stronger commitment to the principle of civilian control of the military, the fight against drug-trafficking and effective reform of the security sector.

At the same time, there seems to be a consensus that continued engagement with Guinea-Bissau is necessary to assist the country in building democratic governance and effectively addressing key challenges. What is needed now is to identify the kind of support that the international community can provide under the current circumstances to help enhance national political stability, promote reconciliation and combat impunity and organized crime.

During the past few months, the PBC sought to remain engaged with Guinea-Bissau on the basis of the principle of mutual accountability. We have attempted to clearly convey to the authorities the need to effectively and promptly address some issues of grave concern to the international community, while reiterating our willingness to continue to support the country in its efforts towards political stability and socioeconomic development.

On 16 July, the Country-specific Configuration held a meeting with the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Guinea-Bissau, Mr. Adelino Mano Queta, in New York. On the occasion, he reiterated that SSR is his Government’s top priority and the only way to achieve stability in the country. He also deplored the “scourge” of drug trafficking. He indicated that his country cannot address these problems by itself and requested the continued support of the international community. Members of the Configuration expressed their concern with the events of 1 April, the continued detention of Vice-Admiral Zamora Induta and other officers, as well as with subsequent appointments in the military. They stressed the need for civilian control of the Armed Forces. Members also emphasized the need to stay engaged with Guinea-Bissau and extend it the necessary support in an atmosphere of mutual accountability. 

Other initiatives are also noteworthy. Bilateral meetings, consultations within ECOWAS and CPLP and a meeting of the International Contact Group have discussed the situation in Guinea-Bissau and possible avenues for continued international engagement.

Mr. President,

Security Sector Reform continues to be critical to addressing the recurrent political instability in the country and strengthening the civilian control of the Armed Forces. At the same time, efforts in this area cannot ignore the current circumstances. A reflection is currently under way as to how best we can help Guinea-Bissau move forward in SSR at this juncture. In any case, it will be important to continue to support regional efforts conducted by ECOWAS and CPLP.

Another issue of grave concern to the members of the PBC is drug trafficking. An effective fight against illegal drugs requires functioning State institutions, especially in the areas of justice and security, as well as firm political will. The latter is key to secure the international assistance that Guinea-Bissau needs to increase its national capacity in this domain. These efforts must be reinforced by a regional approach. We therefore emphasize the importance of the role played by ECOWAS. Also, both as individual governments and collectively, we must all do more and better to support the implementation of the ECOWAS Regional Action Plan and the West Africa Coast Initiative.

Mr. President,

International efforts to help consolidate peace in Guinea-Bissau should not rest solely upon security-related cooperation. In order for peace to take hold, the foundations for socioeconomic development must be strengthened. We need to support capacity building and help the country revitalize its economy. At the end of the day, it is a dynamic economy and the creation of job opportunities that will generate the revenues needed for the provision of basic services to the population and allow the State to function in a sustainable manner.

In spite of remaining challenges, Guinea-Bissau has made significant progress in managing the economy and inducing development. In 2008 and 2009, export revenues increased and the Government was able to pay civil service salaries on time. As indicated by the Secretary-General in his latest report, tax revenues increased by impressive 46.9% in the first quarter of 2010. Important infrastructure was completed. With the support of the IMF, Guinea-Bissau has advanced fiscal management in a way that is expected to lead the country towards the HIPC completion point. I invite all concerned parties, including the PBF, to reaffirm - in concrete terms - their support to such goal.

Mr. President,

Despite the recurrent challenges, we must persevere in our collective efforts to support Guinea-Bissau. This requires that international partners look beyond current setbacks and support long-term political and economic stability. It also means the need for national authorities, including the military, to fully restore international confidence.

Thank you.