Chair of ECOWAS Ambassadors to the UN, Lewis G. Brown
ECOWAS Remains Engaged In Solving Bissau Impasse - Brown
MONROVIA, February 15 (LINA) - The Authority of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS remains engaged and seized of finding a lasting solution to the political impasse in Guinea Bissau, the Chair of ECOWAS Ambassadors to the UN, Lewis G. Brown, has said.
He said the failure to implement the Conakry Agreement of October 14, 2016, signed by all stakeholders, and the contentious appointment of a non-consensual Prime Minister, remain issues of grave concern in advancing the peace efforts.
Brown, who is Liberia’s Permanent Representative to the UN, was speaking Tuesday in a meeting of the United Nations Security Council concerning Guinea Bissau, in his capacity as current chair of ECOWAS Ambassadors at the United Nations.
He noted that ECOWAS recognizes that the current political stalemate undermines Guinea Bissau's socio-economic development, and is a threat to peace and stability in that sisterly country, and by extension, the entire West African sub-region.
The need to ensure adherence to and accelerate implementation of the Conakry Agreement is of utmost priority and urgency, the Liberian diplomat emphasized.
Brown recalled that in furtherance of the Conakry Agreement, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Chairperson of the ECOWAS Authority, led a Presidential Mission to Guinea Bissau on November 5, 2016, consisting of the President of the ECOWAS Commission, Marcel de Souza, the Minister of State of Guinea, Yousouf Kiridi Bangoura, representing President Alpha Conde, ECOWAS’ Mediator, along with other officials of ECOWAS, the African Union, United Nations, and European Union, among others.
This mission was to provide the opportunity to advance progress in resolving the Guinea Bissau crisis, Brown explained.
The outcome of the mission was the signing of a final communiqué focusing on the six points in tandem with the Conakry Agreement, including that the stakeholders reaffirm their commitment to the Conakry Agreement;
It also encouraged the stakeholders to accelerate the reintegration of the 15 dissident MPs into the PAIGC, in compliance with the Conakry Agreement; and the appointment by the President of the Republic of a consensual Prime Minister without further delay, who has the confidence of the President.
The communiqué also called for the formation of an all-inclusive government, taking in to account the parliamentary representations of the political parties; the convening of parliamentary sessions in the shortest possible time.
It urged the organization of a national dialogue roundtable to discuss the 'Stability Pact' meant to articulate key constitutional and institutional reforms before the 2018 legislative elections, as stated in the Conakry Agreement.
In mid-November, 2016, Mr. Umaro El Mokhtar Sissoco Embalo was appointed Prime Minister by President Jose Mario Vaz; however, it was not unanimously accepted because Mr. Embalo was not a consensus candidate, Brown narrated, adding: “This has resulted in the current setback.”
He said in continued efforts at finding an amicable and peaceful resolution to the crisis, Guinea Bissau has been placed high on the ECOWAS agenda.
The Liberian envoy explained that at a most recent meeting on the margins of the African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, the Commission discussed ways to continue the mediation efforts, including the continuation of support for the Mediator, President Alpha Conde of Guinea.
The President of Sierra Leone, Ernest Bai Koroma, has been designated to assist President Conde in the mediation, considering that President Conde has also assumed the Chairmanship of the African Union.
A meeting of the PAIGC is scheduled to be convened in Conakry, Guinea, as soon as possible, by President Conde, Brown disclosed.
He revealed that the challenge which now faces the Government of Guinea Bissau is to have its development Plan endorsed by the Parliament, which if unsuccessful, would mean that the newly-appointed Prime Minister would have to resign.
“This is a source of growing tension between the Speaker of the Parliament and the Executive Branch,” the Liberian envoy said.
Meanwhile, Brown says, the ECOWAS Authority calls on all parties and stakeholders in Guinea Bissau to remain engaged and to support the ongoing peace efforts and collaborate for the passage of the development agenda which will trigger the release of donor funding required to assist in meeting the needs of the people of Guinea Bissau.
The ECOWAS Authority also renews calls for the broader international support of its ongoing efforts to bring lasting peace to Guinea Bissau, the Chair of the ECOWAS Ambassadors at the UN said.