EU decides not to renew Guinea-Bissau mission


The European Union will not extend a mission to help reform Guinea-Bissau’s security forces because the country has failed to respect the rule of law since an army mutiny in April, said the EU.

The existing mission, launched in June 2008, will end on September 30 when its mandate expires, the EU said in a statement.
“Political instability and the lack of respect for the rule of law in the country make it impossible for the EU to deploy a follow up mission, as originally foreseen, without compromising its own principles,” the statement said.

An army mutiny on April 1, led by General Antonio Injai, ousted Guinea-Bissau’s military chief and briefly detained the prime minister, reports Reuters.

The European Union has since repeatedly expressed concern at the detention of civilian and military leaders, as well as the impunity of those behind the mutiny, and called on Guinea-Bissau to respect the rule of law.

But on June 25, Injai was appointed chief of the armed forces, frustrating the EU’s efforts. Monday’s statement said Injai’s appointment “confirms that the conditions for deployment of the new mission are not met”.

U.N. officials say the tiny country on the coast of West Africa has become a hub of the drug trade between Latin America and Europe.

Last month, the United States said it could not help in international efforts to reform the country’s armed forces unless they were purged of suspected leaders of the growing West African drug trade.

Washington has named two senior Guinea-Bissau military officers as drug kingpins, one was the former chief of staff of the navy and the other the chief of staff of the air force.