December 2012 Monthly Forecast

Posted 30 November 2012
Download Complete Forecast: PDF


Expected Council Action

In December, the Council will be briefed in consultations on the quarterly report on efforts to restore constitutional order in Guinea-Bissau following the 12 April coup, possibly by Special Representative Joseph Mutaboba. The briefing will likely be followed by a briefing by Morocco on the work of the Guinea-Bissau Sanctions Committee.

A press statement is possible as an outcome.

The mandate of the UN Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Guinea-Bissau (UNIOGBIS) expires on 28 February 2013.

Key Recent Developments

The transitional government, which was brokered by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and is not recognised by some Council members, has taken a hard-line attitude towards UNIOGBIS. On 9 November, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation sent a letter to the Secretary-General requesting the replacement of Joseph Mutaboba as Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of UNIOGBIS. The letter stated that Mutaboba does not serve the interest of the transition programme currently underway. It is unclear whether or how the Secretary-General will respond to this request.

The internal situation in Guinea-Bissau remains volatile. An attack on a military base near the Bissau airport that resulted in six deaths took place on 21 October. The transitional government accused former Army Chief of Staff Jose Zamora Induta, former Prime Minister Carlos Gomes Júnior, Portugal and members of the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries (CPLP) of being behind what was described as an attempted coup. One week later, Induta’s former bodyguard, Pansau N’Tchamá, was arrested outside Bissau as the suspected coup leader.

ECOWAS Commission President Kadré Désiré Ouédraogo visited Guinea-Bissau on 7 November, to formalise the ECOWAS Mission in Bissau (ECOMIB) through the signing of two agreements with the transitional government—a memorandum of understanding on the implementation of the roadmap for the defence and security sector reform programme and the status of mission agreement formalising the deployment of ECOMIB. It has been suggested that the ECOMIB mandate should be taken to the Security Council for approval; however, it is unlikely that this will happen due to the lack of support for ECOWAS’s agenda in Guinea-Bissau by some Council members.

An “Extra-ordinary Summit” on Mali and Guinea-Bissau was convened by ECOWAS in Abuja, Nigeria, on 11 November. Regional leaders strongly condemned the alleged 21 October coup attempt, urging the AU and other partners to actively participate in the implementation of the 7 November agreements and extending ECOMIB’s mandate by six months beyond its expiry on 17 November. The meeting also called on the AU to recognise the transitional government of Guinea-Bissau, requesting the suspension of its sanctions.

The Partido Africano da Independência da Guiné e Cabo Verde (PAIGC) remains in control of the parliament, and both Gomes Júnior and former CPLP Executive Secretary Domingos Simões Pereira have announced their intentions to run in PAIGC leadership elections at a party congress to be held in January 2013. It remains unclear as to whether Gomes Júnior will be permitted to run in the April 2013 presidential elections, as he is currently excluded from politics by the transitional government. Some suggest that it is unlikely he will run due to a lack of guarantee for his security. The interim President, Prime Minister and other members of the transitional government are not permitted to run in the presidential election.

Since the 12 April coup, there is evidence of an increase in drug trafficking in Guinea-Bissau. The New York Times reported that from April to July, UN officials have counted at least 20 instances of small planes suspected of carrying drugs stopping in Guinea-Bissau on their way to Europe. It is widely believed those at the highest levels of the military have been involved in the facilitation of trafficking. The transitional government and military leadership reject the accusations.

The Council last met on Guinea-Bissau on 18 September when it discussed in closed consultations the Secretary-General’s report on the restoration of constitutional order in Guinea-Bissau (S/2012/704); following the meeting no action was taken. Feltman updated the Council on the latest developments and members shared their concerns about a continuing political stalemate as well as the importance of a return to constitutional order in Guinea-Bissau.

During meetings held on the margins of the General Assembly key actors active on Guinea-Bissau agreed on a potential mission to be undertaken with the involvement of the AU, CPLP, ECOWAS, the UN and the EU to evaluate the political, human rights and security situation in the country. On 2 November, ECOWAS proposed a draft terms of reference for a joint assessment mission to Guinea-Bissau, calling for the mission to be undertaken from 15-16 November. However, Council members had not agreed on the draft terms and proposed dates for the mission by press time.

Key Issues

The key issue that remains paramount for the Council is the effort by national, regional and international stakeholders to promote the return to constitutional order, including improved cooperation between the AU, CPLP, ECOWAS, UN and other partners.

A related issue is agreement on an inclusive transitional programme, comprising the implementation of comprehensive security sector reforms.

An important perennial issue relates to Guinea-Bissau’s involvement in international narcotics trafficking, particularly as the military responsible for the 12 April coup is allegedly heavily implicated in the trafficking.


Options for the Council include:

  • issuing a press statement expressing concern regarding the alleged attempted counter-coup and calling for coordination among stakeholders and their support for the transition process and preparations for the April 2013 elections; or
  • taking no action at this time.
Council Dynamics

Council members are divided on the critical issues of accepting the legitimacy of the transitional government and supporting the transitional programme put forward by ECOWAS.

At this stage there has been no move to bring the matter of easing UN sanctions to the attention of Council members.

Portugal would like to see a more inclusive transitional process, with the military relinquishing power completely. It appears that all EU members remain united in their lack of support for the transitional government, despite potential conflicting interests and the need to work with ECOWAS on Mali and the wider Sahel. It is unlikely that the position of the EU members will change, unless there is an agreed roadmap for the transition process that engages all parties to the conflict.

As the only ECOWAS member currently on the Security Council, Togo supports the programme set out by the ECOMIB agreements and supports the transitional government.

Furthermore, while in no way connected to the transitional government’s letter urging the replacement of the head of UNIOGBIS, some Council members have concerns with regard to the UN’s leadership on the issue of Guinea-Bissau.

Togo is the lead country on Guinea-Bissau, and Morocco is the chair of the 2048 Guinea-Bissau Sanctions Committee.

Sign up for SCR emails

Security Council Resolutions  
18 May 2012 S/RES/2048 This resolution imposed travel bans on coup leaders and set up a new sanctions committee.
21 December 2011 S/RES/2030 This resolution renewed the mandate of UNIOGBIS until 28 February 2013.
26 June 2009 S/RES/1876 In this resolution the Council extended the mandate of UNOGBIS until 31 December and requested the Secretary-General to establish a UN Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Guinea-Bissau (UNIOGBIS) to succeed UNOGBIS for an initial period of 12 months after that.
Security Council Presidential Statements  
21 April 2012 S/PRST/2012/15 This statement was on the coup in Guinea-Bissau.
Secretary-General’s Reports  
12 September 2012 S/2012/704 This report covered the restoration of, and respect for, constitutional order, as well as on the humanitarian situation in Guinea-Bissau.
17 July 2012 S/2012/554 This was the report of the Secretary-General on developments in Guinea-Bissau.
30 April 2012 S/2012/280 This was a Secretary-General report on the situation in Guinea-Bissau.
Security Council Letters  
23 April 2012 S/2012/254 The Secretary-General transmitted two letters, one from former Prime Minister Carlos Gomes Júnior and one from Kadré Désiré Ouedraogo, President of ECOWAS Commission.
Security Council Meeting Records  
26 July 2012 S/PV.6818 Special Representative and head of UNIOGBIS Joseph Mutaboba introduced the Secretary-General’s latest report on Guinea-Bissau to Council members.
21 April 2012 S/PV.6755 This was a meeting on Guinea-Bissau.
28 March 2012 S/PV.6743 The Council was briefed by Mutaboba and Ambassador Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti (Brazil), Chair of the Guinea-Bissau country-specific configuration of the PBC.
Security Council Press Statements  
30 July 2012 SC/10734 This press statement on Guinea-Bissau was issued after the 26 July briefing.
20 July 2012 SC/10721 This press release concerned the addition of six army officers to the Guinea-Bissau Sanctions Committee’s list of individuals subject to a foreign travel ban.
8 May 2012 SC/10640 This press statement followed the 7 May briefing on Guinea-Bissau.
13 April 2012 SC/10607 The Council condemned the coup and called for immediate release of interim President Raimundo Pereira, Prime Minister Carlos Gomes Junior and all senior officials currently detained.                                            

Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of UNIOGBIS

Joseph Mutaboba (Rwanda)

UNIOGBIS Size and Composition

Strength as of 30 September 2012: 60 international civilians; 52 local civilians; 1 military adviser; 16 police; 7 UN volunteers


1 January 2010—28 February 2013

Chair of the Guinea-Bissau Sanctions Committee

Ambassador Mohammed Loulichki (Morocco)

Chair of the Guinea-Bissau Configuration of the PBC

Ambassador Maria Luiza Viotti (Brazil)

ECOWAS Mission in Guinea-Bissau (ECOMIB) Size and Duration

Strength as of 6 November 2012: 629 soldiers and police (contributing countries: Burkina Faso, Nigeria and Senegal)

March 2012—17 May 2013

Subscribe to receive SCR publications