UNITED NATIONS, Dec. 27 (Xinhua) -- The UN Security Council on Thursday urged political actors in Guinea-Bissau to demonstrate renewed good faith to hold "free and fair" elections for the country to break the cycle of instability.
In a statement, the Security Council expressed "regret" that the country did not hold elections as planned on Nov. 18 and voiced "deep concern" over preparations for the polls rescheduled for March 10, 2019.
Holding "genuinely free and fair" elections on the revised date across the small West African nation is vital to preserving the "still fragile gains" in the path to stability in the country, said the statement.
"Legislative elections are a fundamental step in resuming sustainable and nationally owned reforms and should take place prior to the presidential elections foreseen in 2019," it added.
In the statement, the council recalled the implementation of the October 2016 Conakry Agreement, the primary framework for a peaceful resolution of the political crisis in the country, noting its importance to ensure political stability and build sustainable peace in Guinea-Bissau.
The council commended the country's defense and security forces for their "continued non-interference" in the politics of Guinea-Bissau, and strongly urged them to continue in that vein.
The statement followed a briefing last week by UN Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Taye-Brook Zerihoun and Brazilian Ambassador to the UN Mauro Vieira on the developments in Guinea-Bissau.