The Economic Community of West African
States (ECOWAS) has said it is pleased so far with the transition process in Guinea-Bissau where interim president and former parliamentary speaker Raimundo Pereira has promised to
organize free and fair elections following the assassination of President Joao
ECOWAS foreign ministers and the regional bloc's Executive
Secretary Mohamed Ibn Chambas were in Guinea-Bissau Thursday where they met
with all the stakeholders to discuss the process of returning the country to democratic
Chambas told VOA that ECOWAS is working with
the United Nations and other partners to mobilize the necessary resources for
free and fair democratic election in Guinea-Bissau.
ECOWAS ministers for foreign affairs thought that it would be significant to
meet here in Guinea-Bissau as a gesture of solidarity, and to demonstrate the
concerns the region has certainly about the transition process here in
Guinea-Bissau. The region is pleased that the succession has gone in conformity
with the constitution. We want to encourage Guinea-Bissau to stay on this
constitutional track," he said.
Pereira has promised to organize free and fair elections as soon as possible.
said ECOWAS wants to provide the necessary support to ensure a successful
transition which will result in credible and transparent presidential election.
want to encourage him, and in fact the ministers have urged the president to
ensure that these elections are held in accordance with constitution and to
ensure so that they credible, free and fair. In that regard we have already
discussed very concretely what the needs of the country will be to ensure such
election. We work very closely with the UN, the UNDP, European Union and other
bilateral partners to mobilize the resources required. And ECOWAS has
undertaken to make up any gap in funding so that funding does not become an
obstacle to holding the elections in conformity with the constitution of
Guinea-Bissau," Chambas said.
admits that ECOWAS does not know when the elections in Guinea-Bissau would take
place. But he said the regional bloc expects Interim president Raimundo Pereira to
announce soon the date for the
a matter of fact the president has been traveling. He's due back later today or
tomorrow, and he will engage in consultations with all the stakeholders. But we
expect that within the coming days a date will be announced, and we want to be
ready to provide the necessary assistance that they would require to be able to
hold credible elections," he said.
said ECOWAS had also been concerned about the need for security sector reform
events of March 1 and 2 indicated a total breakdown of the defense and security
sector and an indication of the urgency to move swiftly to ensure a security
sector reform. And we have undertaken to work very closely with the authorities
here, with the UN and other partners so that we can move forward with this
important reform that this country has been yearning for," Chambas said.
also said the ECOWAS foreign ministers were encouraged by their discussion the
day before in Guinea Conakry with Captain Moussa Dadis Camera, who seized power
following the death of longtime President Lansana Conte.
(Captain Moussa) pledged to cooperate fully with ECOWAS and the international
community and work closely with political parties and civil society to ensure a
successful transition which will end this year. So we were very encouraged by
the discussions we held in Guinea, by the openness of the president of CNDD,
the willingness to engage in constant and continuing dialogue with all the
Guinean stakeholders to ensure a successful transition," Chambas said.