UNITED NATIONS, March 5 (Xinhua) -- The United Nations Security Council on Thursday expressed "deep concern" over the crisis in Guinea-Bissau spawned by the December election that fractured the country's political leadership.
In a statement, the members of the council called on the parties in the African country to respect the legal and constitutional frameworks and the democratic process to resolve the post-electoral crisis.
They called on the parties to prioritize dialogue and peaceful settlement of the crisis and to refrain from actions and statements that could further exacerbate tensions.
The political leadership of Guinea-Bissau has fractured since a second-round presidential vote in December saw opposition leader Umaro Sissoco Embalo beat Domingos Simoes Pereira, candidate of the long-ruling PAIGC party, as announced by the National Electoral Commission.
Embalo was sworn in last Thursday as president by the first Vice President of the National People's Assembly Nuno Gomes Na Biam.
The Supreme Court of Justice has issued rulings requiring a check of the vote tally sheets after PAIGC filed a lawsuit.
According to media reports, a dozen soldiers on Monday occupied the grounds of Guinea-Bissau's Supreme Court of Justice, in a move that has deepened the post-election crisis.
In Thursday's statement, the members of the Security Council expressed their support to the Economic Community of West African States' (ECOWAS) mediation role and welcomed its decision to send a mission of experts to Bissau to meet with the Supreme Court of Justice and the National Electoral Commission.
They also called on ECOWAS to send a high-level political mission to Guinea-Bissau to help speed up efforts to resolve the post electoral crisis.
The members of the Security Council urged Guinea-Bissau's defense and security forces to not interfere with the post-electoral and political crisis and encouraged the forces of ECOWAS Mission in Guinea-Bissau to continue ensuring the security of state institutions and organs.