UN official underscores 5.7-mln-USD gap in support for Guinea-Bissau elections

Source: Xinhua| 2018-05-17 07:37:20|Editor: ZD
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UNITED NATIONS, May 16 (Xinhua) -- A senior UN official on Wednesday underscored a funding gap of 5.7 million USD in support for Guinea-Bissau's legislative elections set for November and called on international community to help bridge the gap.

In a briefing to the Security Council, UN Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Taye-Brook Zerihoun praised recent developments in the West African country marked by political and institutional deadlock, including the confirmation of Nov. 18 as its election date.

Breaking down the finance for the elections, he said a 7.7-million-USD support by the UN Development Programme (UNDP) has been finalized, and that a fund contributed by both the Guinea-Bissau government and the UNPD will be used to procure biometric equipment.

"Additional resources are urgently needed to fill a funding gap of 5.7 million US dollars to cover voter registration, 2.8 million US dollars, and operational costs for the elections, 2.9 million US dollars," said Zerihoun.

He said the electoral commission is expected to begin voter registration on June 1, and that in order to avoid delay it will be important for the international community to provide the requisite support to fill the gap.

In addition, the assistant secretary-general called for attention to the rampant drug trafficking and associated forms of transnational organized crimes in Guinea-Bissau.

"There have been at least five reported seizures of drugs at the international airport in Bissau" since late February, which "may be just the tip of the iceberg," he said.

However, according to the UNDOC's briefing to the Security Council, funding for its activities in Guinea-Bissau was drastically reduced in 2017 and donors remain reluctant to engage the country in view of its political situation.

The UN anti-drug organ urged the international community to enable itself to provide the comprehensive support Guinea-Bissau needs to address drug and crime threats.