Amb. Mark Lyall Grant. UN Photo/Paulo Filgueiras

The Security Council today urged political parties in Guinea-Bissau to engage in dialogue ahead of the upcoming run-off elections next month to ensure a peaceful conclusion to the electoral process that started in January, and to be able to maintain unity and stability in the country.

“The members of the Security Council called upon all political leaders and their supporters to exercise restraint and to refrain from any action that could hamper the electoral process,” said Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant of the United Kingdom, which holds the Council’s presidency this month, in a press statement.

The West African nation is undergoing a political transition as a result of the death of President Malam Bacai Sanh? in January, which prompted early elections – the first round of which were held on 18 March. A run-off is now scheduled for 22 April between former Prime Minister Carlos Gomes Junior and ex-president Kumba Yala.

The Council also called on the parties to resolve their disputes in accordance with the constitutional framework in line with the legal instruments set out by the African Union (AU) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

Members of the Council praised the smooth conduct of the first round of the presidential elections and congratulated the people of Guinea-Bissau for their peaceful participation in the democratic process and underlined the importance of having a successful conclusion to the elections to be able to address issues of priority in the country such as drug trafficking, security sector reform, demobilization of the military and police and advancing the national reconciliation process, among others.

Mr. Lyall Grant said members of the Council “urged Guinea-Bissau’s national authorities to continue addressing these issues and the United Nations as well as the international community to continue supporting Guinea Bissau’s national authorities to achieve these aims.”

Members of the Council also emphasised the need for the national authorities in Guinea-Bissau to bring those responsible for any acts of election-related violence to justice and reiterated that the Government is responsible for ensuring the security of its population and creating an atmosphere conducive to the peaceful conduct of the elections.

On Wednesday, the 15-member body was briefed by the Special Representative of the Secretary- General and Head of the UN Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Guinea-Bissau (UNIOGBIS) Joseph Mutaboba on the situation in the country as well as by Ambassador Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti, Chair of the Guinea-Bissau Configuration of the Peacebuilding Commission.

Mr. Lyall Grant said the Council will continue to closely follow the situation in the country.

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