U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York, New York
August 10, 2020
Thank you, Mr. President. I want to first join my colleagues in condemning the attacks in Niger and expressing condolences to the victims and their families. Thank you, Special Representative Sori-Coulibaly, for your comprehensive briefing. On behalf of the United States, I would like to express our gratitude for your leadership of UNIOGBIS during this very difficult period. I also would like to thank the other briefer’s today as well for your fantastic information.
Guinea-Bissau faces a wide range of challenges, and the COVID-19 pandemic has brought new negative economic effects and further complicated the political landscape. The United States is particularly appreciative of you and your team’s efforts to execute a comprehensive and sustainable transition of the Mission’s responsibilities to the UN Country Team and other UN organizations working in West Africa. Such efforts are vital to ensuring that support for the people of Guinea-Bissau does not falter.
As UNIOGBIS continues its phased drawdown and prepares to transfer tasks to the UN country team and UNOWAS at the end of its mandate in December, the United States would like to commend the Special Representative and the men and women who have worked with her to support both the Conakry Agreement and the full implementation of ECOWAS’s six-point road map for solving the political crisis in Guinea-Bissau. We laud UNIOGBIS for its work to help strengthen capacity, promote the rule of law, consolidate constitutional rule, and enhance cooperation and coordination with the African Union, ECOWAS, and other international partners. We truly thank you.
Mr. President, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to raise concern in the country, where cases among health care workers have been rising at an alarming rate in recent days. It is of paramount importance that the Government of Guinea-Bissau continue taking affirmative measures to combat the spread of COVID-19. The international community is here to support, but local authorities must assume a leadership role.
The United States is committed to supporting the efforts of the people of Guinea-Bissau as they work to end the cycles of violence and instability that have overwhelmed the country for far too long. To that end, we desire a positive and constructive relationship with the new Government of Guinea-Bissau, one based on respect for human rights, the rule of law, and true democratic governance. We will continue to provide important humanitarian and development assistance to the people of Guinea-Bissau.
The United States supports a free and independent press as essential to a democratic government. We were deeply concerned by the acts of vandalism committed against Radio Capital and we note the July 29 statement by the Group of Five international partners of Guinea-Bissau, strongly condemning those acts as an infringement upon the rights of the Guinea-Bissau people to the freedom of expression and the freedom of the press.
We further encourage the Government of Guinea-Bissau to remain vigilant in the fight against drug trafficking.
Mr. President, the United States will continue to stand with the people of Guinea-Bissau as they create a stronger and better future for themselves and for their children.
Thank you very much.