The Chairperson of the African Union (AU) Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, visited Guinea-Bissau today as part of his tour of West Africa, during which he traveled to Senegal, from 1 to 3 October 2018, and The Gambia, from 3 to 4 October 2018.
During his visit to Bissau, the Chairperson of the Commission met with President José Mário Vaz. He also met with Prime Minister Aristides Gomes, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Cooperation and Communities, João Ribeiro Butiam Có, and the Speaker of the National People's Assembly, Cipriano Cassama.
The Guinea-Bissau authorities expressed their appreciation to the Chairperson of the Commission for his visit, stressing that it constituted a strong gesture of solidarity, as it took place against the backdrop of sustained efforts to complete the implementation of the October 2016 Conakry Agreement for the implementation of the Roadmap of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), signed in Bissau in September 2016, and subsequent ECOWAS decisions. They underscored the need for increased support from the AU and the international community as a whole, to bring to a successful conclusion the ongoing process and ensure the long-term stability needed for the country's socio-economic development.
The Chairperson of the Commission noted with satisfaction the progress made by Guinea-Bissau in the implementation of the Conakry Agreement and related ECOWAS decisions. He stressed the need for all concerned stakeholders to make every effort to ensure that the parliamentary elections of 18 November 2018 are held under the required conditions of transparency, freedom and credibility, in order to strengthen the gains made so far. He paid tribute to ECOWAS and its Facilitator, President Alpha Condé of the Republic of Guinea, for their commitment and accompaniment of Guinea-Bissau.
The Chairperson of the Commission informed the Guinea-Bissau authorities that the AU would send an election observation mission for the November legislative elections, and that it would, in close collaboration with ECOWAS and the United Nations, provide technical expertise for the envisaged constitutional review exercise. He urged the international community to remain mobilized in support of Guinea-Bissau, and praised the coordination that exists on the ground between ECOWAS, the AU, through its Special Representative Ovidio Pequeno, the Community of Portuguese-Speaking Countries (CPLP) and the European Union (EU).
The Chairperson of the Commission took the opportunity of his visit to highlight the need for the acceleration of the integration process on the continent. He urged Guinea-Bissau to sign and ratify, as soon as possible, the Agreement on the African Continental Free Trade Area and the Protocol on Free Movement of Persons and the African Passport, as well as to accede to the Single African Air Transport Market. He also exchanged views with his interlocutors about the ongoing AU institutional reform, particularly in view of the Extraordinary Summit scheduled to take place in Addis Ababa on 17 and 18 November 2018.