5 April 2013 – The Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Guinea-Bissau, José Ramos-Horta, granted an interview to two international media on Friday, 5 April at UNIOGBIS, in which he launched an appeal on the occasion of the first anniversary of the 12 April 2012 coup d’état in Guinea-Bissau.
Ramos-Horta stressed that 12 April was not a matter for celebration, but rather an anniversary of one more coup d’etat. “Independently of the reasons that led the military to stage yet another coup, the truth is that, as a result, it brought a deep socio-economic crisis and diplomatic isolation to the country.
“I hope that, on this anniversary of the coup d’état, the transitional regime, the political and military elites of this country will conduct an introspection, a self-examination, and be aware that, really, Guinea-Bissau faces an existential threat, as a State, as a nation,” he said.
“Without a strong State, a strong government and solid political institutions, it will be extremely difficult for the country to face the regional challenges, threats by organized crime, namely drug cartels of various origins, and the other types of threats that each Guinean family experiences on a day-to-day basis, the threat of extreme poverty,” Ramos-Horta stated. “I must say as a friend and brother of the Guineans that the international community has always wanted and wants to help, but it is also tired and there is a real danger that the UN itself, the EU and Guinea-Bissau’s other friends and traditional partners may say no.
For that reason, he continued, “I call on the political elites to reach an agreement on the promised roadmap –voter registration and the electoral calendar. Elections can be done this year if the political elites understand what I’ve said because the country is facing many challenges – I can even say existential challenges – as a State and as a nation. ”
“They should come to an agreement and form a fully inclusive government as soon as possible to allow elections in a totally peaceful climate and with the prior knowledge that, in the face of the challenges of this country, there will be no winners or losers in the upcoming elections. This means that the political party with the majority of votes should have a sense of State, should be aware of the seriousness of the situation, and be conscious that it cannot solve alone the problems of the country,” Ramos-Horta explained.
“Extend a hand to each other, invite a third party and choose the best people– men and women – to form a fully inclusive Government, a strong Government for the second phase of the process. The first phase runs from now until the elections. The second, I will call it reorganization, is to rebuild the state and to garner international support so that the country can finally regain the prestige it had in the 1973, 1974, 1975 years. And it is possible. This country is potentially rich, it has a fabulous people who has never been involved in bloody tribal wars, notwithstanding its multi-ethnic nature”.
Asked if his meeting this week with the prime minister had something to do with recent rumors (of a military’s revolt), José Ramos-Horta said no. He explained that it was a routine meeting he had requested just like the discussions he has had with national partners and the international community in the interest of a climate of dialogue and transparency between all parties.
On the recent rumors [imputed by the head of the military to people who want to destabilize the country] the Special Representative said that “in the absence of abundant and dynamic media, and when the Government does not have frequent, regular dialogue with the mass media, such a situation leaves room for rumors. The way the rumors spread over the last three days is normal,” he said.
Regarding the arrest of Admiral Jose Americo Bubo Na Tchuto by US agents on Thursday, Horta said this concerned the United States since the person in question is accused of being involved in a network of drug traffickers.
“As a friend of Guinea-Bissau, it saddens me because a veteran, a great fighter from Amilcar Cabral’s PAIGC ends up in a U.S. prison for drug trafficking. I hope this will make the Guinean political class and military reflect on how they find themselves in this situation,” he said.