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Ban voices concern over deepening political crisis in Guinea-Bissau

16 April 2012 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today voiced grave concern over the fact that, despite calls by the international community for the immediate restoration of constitutional order in Guinea-Bissau, the leaders of last week’s coup have continued to deepen the political crisis through their declared plans to establish a transitional government.

“This is particularly disturbing as it comes at a time when the people of Guinea-Bissau should be preparing through multi-party democratic elections to elect a new President,” said a statement issued by the spokesperson for the Secretary-General.

Soldiers in Guinea-Bissau, a West African nation that has been beset by coups, misrule and political instability since it gained independence from Portugal in the early 1970s, seized power last Thursday and detained the interim President, Raimundo Pereira, and Prime Minister Carlos Gomes Júnior.

The move came in the run-up to second round of the presidential election that was slated for 22 April between Mr. Gomes Júnior and ex-president Kumba Yala.

Mr. Ban said he remained concerned about the continued detention of the interim President, the Prime Minister and other officials and reiterated his call for their immediate release.

The Secretary-General has spoken with President Alassane Ouattara of Côte d’Ivoire, the chairperson of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS); Jean Ping, the chairperson of the African Union (AU) Commission; and Portuguese Foreign Minister Paulo Portas in his efforts to intensify cooperation with regional and other leaders to find a speedy and lasting solution to the political crisis in Guinea-Bissau, the statement said.

He welcomed the efforts by ECOWAS, the AU and other partners to facilitate the restoration of constitutional order in the country, and reaffirmed the continued support of the United Nations to those efforts, including through the UN Integrated Peacebuilding Office for Guinea-Bissau (UNIOGBIS).

On Friday, both the Secretary-General and the Security Council had strongly condemned the military coup and demanded the immediate restoration of constitutional order.

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