Guinea Bissau tries to avoid UN sanctions

2011-02-21 21:42

Bissau - Guinea-Bissau Prime Minister Carlos Gomes Junior is headed to New York on Monday in a bid to dissuade the UN Security Council from placing further sanctions on the troubled country.

A government communique said Gomes Junior was leading a delegation of five ministers as well as an army representative to take part in the Security Council meeting on Friday.

The former Portuguese colony hopes to explain measures it is taking to improve its instability as it seeks to avoid generalised sanctions from the European Union which has already frozen aid, as well as the United States which imposed individual sanctions against certain soldiers in 2010.

Amongst them is navy chief Jose Americo Bubo Na Tchuto who was accused of playing a "significant role" in international drug trafficking and designated by Washington as a drug lord.

Guinea Bissau has become a major drug trafficking hub to Europe, largely due to its instability after four decades of coups, mutinies and political killings - with the army playing a significant destabilising role.

On a visit to neighbouring Senegal last week Gomes urged the EU to avoid "measures that hamper the development of Guinea-Bissau".

EU ambassadors want to adopt targeted sanctions (asset freezes and visa bans) against several officials suspected of "threatening peace, security or stability", a decision which has been postponed at the request of Portugal.

The EU wants an independent investigation into events in the country between March 2009 and April 2010 which include the assassination of former president Joao Bernardo Vieira.

On April 1 last year a mutiny in the barracks saw the army chief overthrown and Gomes himself kidnapped and detained by the military.

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