Guinea-Bissau: Mission concludes with ‘something good happening in Africa’ – UN

The president of the United Nations Security Council in December, Jerry Matjila, told Lusa that the closure of the political mission in Guinea-Bissau means that there is something good happening in Africa.

Jerry Matjila, South Africa’s permanent representative to the United Nations, said at a press conference at the organisation’s headquarters in New York that he was satisfied with the progress of the Integrated Office for the Consolidation of Peace in Guinea Bissau (Uniogbis), which culminates in the closure on 31 December, after 21 years of activity.

In response to Lusa, the South African representative praised the closure of the UN political missions in Guinea-Bissau and Burundi and the transfer of resources to the respective national coordination teams: “We believe that these two processes showed that there is something good happening in Africa.”

“We are pleased with the reports, with the way things have moved (…) to reach a point where we can say [to Guinea-Bissau]: you are on your own, we will support you, but please be united,” the president of the UN Security Council stressed during December.

Jerry Matjila said it was important that the whole community of Guinea-Bissau is united and in constant dialogue to seek a better future in this country that is giant in natural resources and with so many marine resources.

“Like the rest of Africa or Cabo Verde, Guinea-Bissau can have a better future,” he said.

The South African recalled that the Security Council made an official visit to Guinea-Bissau last year, where it met with all political parties, parliament, the president, ministers, political parties, youth and politicians.

“We have said that the fate of Guinea-Bissau is in its own hands,” stressed Jerry Matjila, adding that the European Union (EU), the Economic Community of West African Countries (ECOWAS), the UN, the African Union or Portuguese-language countries have limited powers, but the rest is in the country’s own hands.

The Uniogbis’ over 20-year presence in Guinea-Bissau included holding elections and establishing peace, while UN resources were mobilised and integrated into the country in line with sustainable development objectives.

The UN political mission in Guinea-Bissau was established in 1999 following the political-military conflict in the territory. After 21 years, the mission’s closing ceremony was held this year on 11 December.

The country’s development process will continue to be monitored through the UN Special Representative for West Africa and the resident coordinator of UN agencies in the country.

In December, Jerry Matjila intended to make the Security Council listen to Africa, advocating the implementation of the content and spirit of Chapter 8 of the UN Charter on the role and mobilisation of regional organisations, such as the African Union, in regional conflicts.

The outgoing President of the Security Council said that the five permanent members (China, United States, France, United Kingdom and Russia), must recognise the importance of regional and sub-regional organisations on the African continent.