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ECOWAS Leaders Move On Gambia, Mali, Bissau Imbroglios
MONROVIA, December 20 (LINA) – The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has called on Gambian President Yahja Jammeh to accept the result of the December 1 polls and refrain from any action likely to compromise the transition and peaceful transfer of power to the President-elect.
The political situation in the tiny West African nation is the result of the decision by incumbent President Jammeh to reject the results of the presidential election of December 1which showed the victory of Mr. Adama Barrow as the president-elect of The Gambia.
The ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government agreed to “undertake all necessary actions” to enforce the result of the election.
According to a dispatch from Abuja, Nigeria, sub-regional Heads of State and Government took the decision during the 50th Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Authority held at a local hotel in Abuja on Saturday, December 17.
Leaders attending the session were President John MAHAMA of Ghana; Alpha CONDE of Guinea; José Mário Vaz of Guinea Bissau; Ellen Johnson SIRLEAF of Liberia; Ibrahim Boubacar KEITA of Mali; Mahamadou ISSOUFOU of Niger; Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria; Macky SALL of Senegal; Ernest Bai KOROMA of Sierra Leone and Faure GNASSINGBE of Togo.
Others were Aurelien A. AGBENONCI, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Benin; Alpha BARRY, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Cooperation and Burkinabe Abroad of Burkina Faso; Cesar MONTEIRO, Ambassador of Cape Verde in Senegal; and Bala GARBA-JAHUMPA, Minister of Works, Construction and Infrastructure of The Gambia.
Institutional representatives were the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for West Africa, Dr. Mohamed Ibn Chambas; and the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for Guinea Bissau and Head of UNIOGBIS, Mr. Brahim Modibo Touré, as well as Representatives of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission and the Commission of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA) as observers.
The 51st Ordinary Session of ECOWAS is slated to convene in May 2017 in the Liberian capital Monrovia.
Among the measures, the leaders agreed to uphold the election results, guarantee the safety and protection of President-elect Barrow, attend his inauguration, which needs to take place by January 19, 2017 when the mandate of the incumbent president expires, called on the government and coalition parties to show restraint to preserve national unity and respect the will of the Gambian people as expressed in the election.
In addition, the Authority requested the African Union and the United Nations to endorse the decisions of the ECOWAS leaders on the situation and to support the ECOWAS mediation, which will be led by Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari and co-chaired by out-going Ghanaian President John Mahama and conducted on the basis of terms agreed by the Authority of Heads of State and Government.
On the situation in Guinea Bissau, the ECOWAS leaders reaffirmed their deep concern over the protracted political and institutional crisis in that country due to the inability of political stakeholders to reach a lasting and consensual solution.
They noted that the crisis undermines the implementation of commitments made by development partners since March 2015, to support the economic and social reconstruction of the country.
The leaders urged the President of Guinea Bissau to comply with the provisions of the Conakry Accord and called on all parties to strictly respect and comply with the tenets of the Accord.
They further commended the non-interference of the Army in the political crisis and strongly urged it to continue in like manner, though they reiterated the withdrawal of ECOMIB on June 30, 2017, directing the Commission to commence operations for the gradual withdrawal starting in the first quarter of 2017.
On the situation in Mali, ECOWAS leaders noted that in spite of progress, there are still challenges to the full and effective implementation of the Peace and Reconciliation Agreement, including insecurity, lack of commitment by some armed group signatories to the Agreement and inadequate financial resources, despite pledges made by the international community.
They strongly condemned the recent terrorist attacks on civilian populations, humanitarian workers, the Malian Defense and Security Forces, and MINUSMA, and reaffirmed their strong attachment to the unity, territorial integrity and sovereignty of Mali.
They reiterated support for the peace process and urged all stakeholders to comply with it.
The Authority directed the President of the ECOWAS Commission to take the necessary steps to organize, as soon as possible, an international conference on the security situation in Mali, in conjunction with the AU and United Nations, to access the most appropriate means of intervention likely to enhance the efficiency of the actions underway in order to preserve Mali’s territorial integrity.