ECOWAS happy at Guinea Bissauan progress towards polls in November

Abuja, Nigeria (PANA) - The ECOWAS Council of Ministers, saying that it noted the gradual progress in the drive towards achieving stability in Guinea Bissau, has hailed the consensus reached by stakeholders in that country on a Regime Pact adopted in April 2013 towards the conduct of elections in November 2013.

This indication is contained in a communique, issued in Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire, following the 17-18 June meeting of the Council.

According to the communique, obtained here Friday by PANA, the Council also hailed the formation of the broad-based inclusive transitional Government on 7 June, 2013, in consonance with the letter and spirit of the Pact, whose responsibility will be to prepare and organise elections.

It said the pact would contribute to the strengthening of the transition process in the country.

The communique said: "Council stresses that this inclusive and participatory process with all stakeholders is indispensable for a successful transition and the consolidation of democracy and good governance in Guinea Bissau.

"The Council therefore encourages the transitional authorities, all political party leaders, opinion leaders and all dynamic forces of the society, military and civilian alike, to maintain this level of permanent dialogue.

"In particular, Council exhorts the interim President, the new transitional Government, the People’s National Assembly, the civil society organisations and all other stakeholders to work assiduously and cooperatively towards the implementation of the urgent tasks of the transition, in particular the holding of elections."

It said: "Council considers that these elections will pave the way for the deepening of political, economic and security reforms required for the country’s development," adding that the Council welcomed the swearing in of Augusto Mendes, the newly elected Chairman of the National Elections Commission and urged all stakeholders in the electoral process to work together, in the supreme interest of the Nation, towards setting concrete dates for elections and creating optimum conditions for successful polls."

The communique indicated that the Council expressed gratitude to Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, the Nigerian president and Chairman of the regional Contact Group on Guinea Bissau (GCR-GB), and Member States of the Contact Group, for the assistance afforded Guinea Bissau and for their determination to ensure a smooth and inclusive transition process.

It commended ongoing efforts to reach a consensus among international partners, including ECOWAS, EU, AU, CPLP and the UN on the transition in Guinea Bissau, welcoming the decision taken on 29 May, 2013, by the partners to undertake a follow-up joint mission to Bissau as soon as possible as well as their commitment to accompany the country in the electoral process.

It reiterated the ECOWAS commitment to support Guinea Bissau "at this crucial stage of consolidation of the transition and democracy, and continued structural reforms in that country".
-0- PANA PR/VAO 22June2013

22 june 2013 14:34:51

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