July 2012 Monthly Forecast

Posted 29 June 2012
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Expected Council Action
In July, the Council is expecting a briefing by Joseph Mutaboba, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and head of the UN Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Guinea-Bissau (UNIOGBIS) on the latest developments and the Secretary-General’s report on Guinea-Bissau (S/2012/280). A press statement is the expected outcome.

The mandate of UNIOGBIS expires on 28 February 2013.

Key Recent Developments
On 13 June, the Council announced the appointment of Ambassador Mohammed Loulichki (Morocco) as chair of the new Guinea-Bissau Sanctions Committee, which was established by resolution 2048, adopted on 18 May. The Committee briefed the Council on 26 June.

The adoption of resolution 2048 followed intense diplomatic activity since the military seized power in Guinea-Bissau on 12 April. Calling themselves the Military Command, the participants in the coup aborted preparations for run-off presidential elections slated for 22 April. Resolution 2048 imposed a foreign travel ban on the leaders of the Military Command and tasked the sanctions committee to monitor the implementation of the travel ban. It authorised the Committee to review “on a case-by-case basis” requests for the ban to be suspended or lifted if “an exemption would further the objectives of peace and national reconciliation in Guinea-Bissau and stability in the region.”

On 23 May, five days after the adoption of the resolution, the Military Command announced that it had set up a transitional civilian government headed by Prime Minister Rui Duarte Barros and including two army officers to steer the country toward elections within a year under a deal brokered by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). Shortly after this, ECOWAS deployed 600 troops in Guinea-Bissau, allowing the Angolan Military Mission in Guinea-Bissau (MISSANG), which was established on 21 March 2011 to assist with Guinea-Bissau’s security sector reform (SSR) programme, to withdraw without incident.

The leaders of the Military Command had cited the presence of MISSANG in the country as a prime cause of the coup. Resolution 2030 of 21 December 2011, which renewed UNIOGBIS’s mandate, while not mentioning MISSANG, nevertheless welcomed the ECOWAS-Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries (CPLP) partnership to support the SSR and called on Guinea-Bissau, ECOWAS and CPLP “to fulfil their commitments.” The resolution called on Guinea-Bissau to “complete the adoption of the basic legislation and framework related to the reform of the defence and security sectors including the pension fund.”

Serious problems began, however, after President Malam Bacai Sanhá took ill and was hospitalised in Paris. On 26 December 2011, while Sanhá was convalescing in the hospital, the army attempted a coup, which was foiled by MISSANG. The relationship between MISSANG and the army completely broke down as a result, with the latter accusing MISSANG of acting as the personal guard of Prime Minister Carlos Gomes Júnior, while Angola was targeted for allegedly agreeing to a secret pact with the government to take over the defence apparatuses of Guinea-Bissau.

President Sanhá died on 9 January 2012. On 18 March, presidential elections were held to find his successor. Gomes Júnior, who ran as head of the ruling Partido Africano para a Independência da Guiné e Cabo Verde (PAIGC), failed to win outright victory, and a run-off was scheduled for 22 April. The opposition candidate, Kumba Yala, who came in second (23 percent) and was scheduled to face Gomes Júnior (49 percent) in the run-off, announced that he would boycott the polls, claiming that the ruling party had rigged the election. The polls were accompanied by the assassination of the former head of military intelligence, Col. Samba Djalo, who was killed by uniformed men shortly after the polls closed.

On 2 April, ECOWAS appointed President Alpha Condé of Guinea to mediate the electoral dispute in Guinea-Bissau. On 5 April, Kadré Désiré Ouedraogo, President of the ECOWAS Commission, wrote a letter to the UN Secretary-General drawing attention to “disturbing developments that could jeopardise the holding” of the run-off elections on 22 April. As a result of serious controversies arising from the first-round of the presidential election, Ouedraogo undertook a joint high‐level ECOWAS‐AU‐UN fact‐finding mission to Guinea-Bissau on 31 March. In his letter, Ouedraogo mentioned the tension between MISSANG and the Guinea-Bissau military.

On 10 April, Angola announced it was withdrawing MISSANG. Two days later, and just ten days before the second round of the presidential elections, the military mounted a successful coup.

The 12 April coup triggered intense diplomatic efforts to restore constitutionality. The Council of Ministers of the CPLP held an emergency session on 14 April in Lisbon and adopted a resolution that was transmitted to the CPLP on 16 April. The resolution called for a UN-mandated “interposition” force in Guinea-Bissau.

The AU Peace and Security Council (PSC) meeting on Guinea-Bissau on 17 April decided to initiate consultations with ECOWAS, the CPLP, the UN and other partners on the possible deployment of an international stabilisation operation. It also suspended Guinea-Bissau as a member state of the AU until the effective restoration of constitutional order. On 24 April, the PSC issued a report noting that events in Guinea-Bissau constituted “a serious setback for the democratic process initiated since the 1990s, while also highlighting the need to further enhance the deterrence potential of the instruments adopted by the AU on unconstitutional changes of government.”

On 19 April, the Council discussed Guinea-Bissau with briefings by three Foreign Ministers: Mamadú Saliu Jaló Pires of Guinea-Bissau (who was out of the country on 12 April); Georges Chikoti of Angola (in his capacity as chair of the CPLP); and Paulo Portas of Portugal. Côte d’Ivoire, which chairs ECOWAS, delivered a statement on behalf of the regional body, while Mutaboba briefed via video-conference on the latest developments.

While visiting West Africa on 21 May, Council members held a high-level meeting on Guinea-Bissau with ECOWAS in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire under the framework of the PSC-UN partnership. Guinea-Bissau was also discussed during the annual meeting between the PSC and members of the Security Council, held in New York on 13 June.

The transitional government that the Military Command announced on 23 May does not include any members of the PAIGC, which won 67 out of 100 parliamentary seats in the March elections, and was expected to win the presidential run-off. The government on 23 June released Rear Admiral José Américo Bubo Na Tchuto, who had been arrested in connection to the coup attempt on 26 December, along with five other officers associated with that plot.

The Secretary-General stressed the importance of inclusive political dialogue and reform of the security and justice sectors as key issues in building peace in the country.

Human Rights-Related Developments
On 25 May, Navi Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, expressed concern about reports of human rights violations, including violent repression of a peaceful demonstration, looting and arbitrary detention of civilians, in Guinea-Bissau since the 12 April coup. She urged the authorities to withdraw a list reportedly circulated by the Military Command containing the names of 57 people forbidden to leave the country until further notice.

Key Issues
The key issue for the Council remains restoration of constitutional order and the prevention of further military incursions in politics.

Other issues include combating the stranglehold of drug-trafficking and organised-crime networks on the military and political elite, as well as undertaking a comprehensive SSR process.


Options for the Council include:

  • issuing a presidential or press statement calling for clear steps towards constitutionality by the transitional government; or
  • taking no action at this moment.

Council Dynamics
There remains unanimous agreement about the need for restoring the constitutional order in Guinea-Bissau, but Council members appear divided over approach. Togo, which leads on Guinea-Bissau in the Council, has stuck to the line adopted by ECOWAS, which is to allow the transitional government one year to conduct elections and to avoid any reference to the legitimacy of the 18 March vote. Other Council members are concerned about the apparent lack of inclusiveness of the transitional government, as well as ignoring the 18 March vote. These Council members are anxious not to appear to endorse the dictates of an illegitimate military intervention.

UN Documents

Selected Security Council Resolutions

  • (18 May 2012) imposed travel bans on coup leaders and set up a new sanctions committee.
  • S/RES/1949 (21 December 2011) renewed the mandate of UNIOGBIS until 28 February 2013.
  • S/RES/1876 (26 June 2009) extended the mandate of UNOGBIS until 31 December and requested the Secretary-General to establish UNIOGBIS to succeed UNOGBIS for an initial period of 12 months.

Latest Secretary-General’s Reports

  • S/2012/280 (30 April 2012) was a special report by the Secretary-General.
  • S/2011/655 (31 October 2011) covers major developments in Guinea-Bissau since June.
  • S/2011/370 (17 June 2011) covers major developments in Guinea-Bissau from 15 February to June.
  • S/2011/73 (15 February 2011) covers major developments since 25 October 2010.

Press Statements

  • SC/10640 (8 May 2012) was issued after the 7 May briefing by Joseph Mutaboba and Ambassador Maria Luiza Viotti (Brazil).
  • SC/10521 (13 January 2012) was issued after the briefing by Lynn Pascoe, head of the Department of Political Affairs, on 10 January.  

Selected Presidential Statements

Latest Meeting Records

  • S/PV.6755 (21 April 2012) was a meeting on the situation in Guinea-Bissau.
  • S/PV.6743 (28 March 2012) was a briefing on the situation in Guinea-Bissau by Mutaboba and Viotti.
  • S/PV.6648  (3 November 2011) was a briefing on the situation in Guinea-Bissau.

Other Relevant Facts

Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of UNIOGBIS

Joseph Mutaboba (Rwanda)


1 January 2010 to present; mandate expires 28 February 2013.

Chair of the Guinea-Bissau Configuration of the PBC


Useful Additional Source

Report of the Chairperson of the Commission on the Situation in Guinea-Bissau, Mali and between the Sudan and South Sudan, AU, 24 April 2012.

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