See also:
» 22.02.2008 - UN supports Bissau recovery
» 18.04.2007 - Guinea-Bissau installs unity government
» 29.03.2007 - Guinea-Bissau PM resigns
» 07.06.2006 - Interview with Prime Minister Aristides Gomes
» 22.05.2006 - Guinea-Bissau parties seek national "salvation" union
» 17.05.2005 - Guinea-Bissau's Kumba Yala: from crisis to crisis
» 22.12.2004 - Aid for Guinea-Bissau starts ticking in
» 08.10.2004 - Guinea-Bissau mutiny is over, President

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"Window of opportunity for Guinea-Bissau"

Joseph Mutaboba

© Government of Rwanda / afrol News
afrol News, 5 March
- Following the upheaval experienced in 2009 when a series of political assassinations threatened security and stability in Guinea-Bissau, "current conditions bode well for progress towards peace and prosperity" in the West African nation, a top UN official said today.

Joseph Mutaboba, the UN Secretary-General's Special Representative in Guinea-Bissau, told the UN Security Council that 2010 could be "a turning point" for the troubled country.

"The country is experiencing a relatively stable political environment and growing international attention. This unprecedented window of opportunity for Guinea-Bissau should not be missed," said Mr Mutaboba, who also heads the UN Integrated Peace-building Office in Guinea-Bissau, known as UNIOGBIS.

Presenting UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's first report on the peace-building mission, which is in its third month of operations, Mr Mutaboba added that there is a lot to be done and the government had continued to make progress in re-engaging the country's international partners and pursuing its reform agenda.

He said that with the various fiscal and administrative reforms taking place and the prospect of debt relief, the conditions are in place for political stability and tangible improvements in the lives of the people in the short- to medium-term.

Mr Mutaboba further noted that security sector reform remains at the centre of the country's stabilisation and development agenda, and that the government, with international support, had made some progress in the last few months.

The UN Security Council has tasked UNIOGBIS with coordinating international efforts on security sector reform. It is also to take a lead role in providing support to national authorities in the reform of internal security institutions, focusing on the police.

Mr Mutaboba added that the country's journey towards peace, democracy and prosperity was taking place in a difficult regional environment. "The political and security situation in West Africa remains highly precarious and we see worrying signs of military coups, of ethnic and inter-religious conflicts and of political intolerance."

The UN envoy also cited increasing threats from international crime, illicit drug trafficking, smuggling, the unfair exploration of natural resources and illegal fishing taking hold in West Africa, mostly by EU vessels.

"Given the inter-dependence of most countries in the sub-region, this could further threaten Guinea-Bissau's stability," he stated. "On the other hand, a successful and peaceful Guinea-Bissau could have a positive influence on the developments in the region."

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