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29 March 2011 – The United Nations has pledged its “enthusiastic” support for security sector reform in Guinea as the West African country transitions into a democracy after decades of dictatorships, coups and bloodshed.
The UN reiterates its desire “to work very closely with the Government and other partners to assure its full success,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Special Representative for West Africa Said Djinnit told a three-day national seminar on security reform, which opened yesterday in Conakry, the capital.
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“The United Nations supports the new Guinea in other efforts, too, for reform and institutional and economic rebirth to meet the legitimate aspirations of its people for change and well-being,” he said.
He paid tribute to President Alpha Condé and his Government for their commitment to see “crucial” security reform through to a successful conclusion in a country that only a year and a half ago suffered an explosion of violence when soldiers shot, raped and attacked hundreds of civilians, killing at least 150.
Mr. Condé’s election in November was the final stage of an interim Government’s efforts to set the stage for democracy after the forces of Captain Moussa Dadis Camara, who seized power in a coup in 2008 after the death of long-time president Lansana Conté, carried out that massacre in September 2009. Mr. Conté himself became head of State in a military coup after president Ahmed Sékou Touré, Guinea's leader since its independence from France in 1958, died in 1984.
Mr. Djinnit heads the UN Office for West Africa (UNOWA), the world Organization’s first regional conflict prevention and peacebuilding office, which was set up in 2002 to better address the cross-border impact of conflict and harmonize UN activities in the sub region.
Addressing the Security Council in December, he urged other troubled West African States to learn from Guinea’s example. Efforts by the international community, regional organizations and the UN to restore stability in Guinea have “ultimately succeeded in pushing back the frontiers of political scepticism and despair in this country,” he said.