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Last Updated: Thursday, 18 September, 2003, 12:45 GMT 13:45 UK
Guinea-Bissau president's resignation speech
The text of Guinea-Bissau President Kumba Yalla's resignation speech broadcast to the nation on 17 September, just days after a military coup.

People of Guinea-Bissau, my very dear people, as you know on 14 September 2003 important events took place in the country.

Guinea-Bissau is today one of the poorest countries on the African continent. But it is also true that Guinea-Bissau always occupied an important place on the continent in the fight for the dignity of Africans, for Africa's values, for the emancipation of its people, for democracy and social progress.

Aware of this heritage of pride and dignity that was the legacy left by our courageous fighters against colonialism, oppression and control, I decided, freely, to proclaim the following: We all admit the seriousness of the current situation and, if it persisted, it would once again occur to the detriment of the courageous people of Guinea-Bissau. We should also show the world our involvement in the continuing our democratic experience and in complying with the constitution.

It is on behalf of these concerns, and placing Guinea-Bissau's interests above our personal ones that, following the Ecowas [West African body] mediation, I propose this compromise to my brothers, chiefs of the armed forces:

1. I accept the appointment of a civilian government of National Unity and Transition, led by a Guinea-Bissau person who has national consensus and that is known for his patriotism, competence and integrity.

2. That the general elections, both legislative and presidential, are conducted within a reasonable time frame, according to a electoral calendar which is consensual among all forces in the country.

3. On behalf of national unity, of my known dedication to peace and a peaceful and brotherly resolution of our problems, I have decided to relinquish the presidency.

4. To the great people of Guinea-Bissau I launch an appeal for discipline, for unity and national revival around the new government.

5. I launch a vibrant appeal to the Guinea-Bissau Diaspora to participate in the cause of national revival.

6. I also launch a sincere and urgent appeal to Ecowas, African Union, UN, European Union, CPLP (Community of Portuguese-speaking Countries), to all international cooperation partners and friendly countries to assist, without any reservations, the government of National Unity and Transition and to make available the necessary financial and material assistance to safeguard the legality and allow the compliance of the electoral calendar as stated in point number 2.

7. I thank the armed forces for managing to avoid violence and the loss of human lives in our country and I urge them to return to the barracks.

8. I thank all heads of state in our continent and, particularly, Ecowas and its president, who always advised and encouraged me.

9. Lastly, I thank the people of Guinea-Bissau, to whom I reiterate my honesty, loyalty and total willingness, yesterday, today, tomorrow and always, because the political struggle will continue, without doubt. Viva Guinea-Bissau, Viva Ecowas, Viva the African Union, God bless us.

Army chief takes over in Bissau
14 Sep 03  |  Africa

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