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Wednesday, 12 January 2011

European Union opens political consultations with Guinea Bissau

The European Union (EU) has decided to start political consultations with Guinea Bissau, under Article 96 of the Cotonou Agreement which allows the EU to suspend partially or totally cooperation with African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries that are guilty of serious violations of democratic principles.Mr Andris Piebalgs, European Commissioner for Development, said the decision to open consultations was made because of the concern expressed by the EU on the status of democratic principles and respect for the rule of law in Guinea Bissau.The statement said the EU intends to implement 'a strategy for ending the crisis along with the various stakeholders involved'.It noted that the mutiny by a section of the army on 1 April 2010, and the actions that followed, had been condemned by the international community and the EU.The mutiny led to illegal detentions and appointments of military officials connected with the mutiny to positions of great responsibility, the statement said.According to the statement, the mutiny resulted in the 'cancellation of the security sector reform process, essential for peace, security and sustainable development as well as the fight against drug trafficking and organized crime '.Under an agreement concluded with the authorities of Guinea Bissau, the EU was responsible for leading the security sector reform agenda, while providing assistance to the government to reform the police, army and put in place a national security strategy.The reform, launched in 2008, had been suspended since May 2010.During a working visit to Brussels in September, the Prime Minister of Guinea Bissau, Carlos Gomes Jr., had asked European leaders to resume the security sector reform.

Source: Afrique en ligne