Expressing deep concern over the protracted political and institutional crisis in Guinea Bissau, the United Nations Security Council has said it is ready to take necessary measures if the situation further deteriorates.

“The members of the Security Council reiterated their commitment to continue to monitor the current political crisis and expressed their readiness to take necessary measures to respond to further worsening of the situation in Guinea Bissau,” said a statement to the press issued yesterday by the 15-member body after a closed-door briefing on the situation.

In the statement, the Council reaffirmed that the Conakry Agreement of 14 October 2016, which was brokered by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), is a primary framework for resolving the political crisis, calling upon the Bissau-Guinean stakeholders to strictly comply with the accord and the ECOWAS road map in addressing their differences and the country’s challenges.

Regarding the planned withdrawal of the regional body’s 500-strong force that has been deployed to the country since the April 2012 coup, the Council urged the international community to give all necessary support to ensure a complete and seamless transition of security architecture to the national defence and security forces.

The Council also expressed concern about the situation of the civilian population in the country, and urged all political actors to put the interest of the people of Guinea Bissau above all other considerations.

The Council welcomed the active engagement of the UN Peacebuilding Commission with relevant stakeholders on the ground as well as with regional organizations to support efforts towards a political solution.