ECOWAS leaders meet in Senegal over Mali and Guinea-Bissau situation
ECOWAS Heads of State and Government on Thursday met in Dakar Senegal in an extraordinary summit, under the chairmanship of HE Alassane Ouattara President of Cote d’Ivoire and Chairman of the Authority. (Photo: The summit in session under the chairmanship of HE Alassane Ouattara)
The summit was convened to examine the evolution of the political and security situations in both Mali and Guinea Bissau, since the last extraordinary session held on April 26th 2012.
The following Heads of State and Government or their accredited representatives attended the summit; HE President Alassane Ouattara of Cote d’Ivoire, President Yayah Jammeh of The Gambia, President John Atta Mills of Ghana, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia, President Mahamadou Issoufou of Niger, President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria, President Macky Sall of Senegal, President Faure Essozimna Gnassingbe of Togo, President Blaise Compaore of Burkina Faso, Prime Minister Jose Maria Pereira Naves of Cape Verde, Interim President of Mali Dioncounda Traore, Francois Lounseny Fall, Minister of State, Secretary General of the Presidency of Guinea and HE Khadijatu Bassir Ambassador Plenipotentiary of Sierra Leone to Senegal.
The following representatives, organizations and States also participated in the summit as observers:
The African Union, The United Nations Organization, The European Union, Community of Portuguese Language Countries, Algeria, France, Austria, Germany, Portugal, United Kingdom and The United States of America.
The Heads of State and Government took note of the report of HE Blaise Compaore, ECOWAS Mediator in the Malian crisis, as well as the President of the ECOWAS Commission on recent developments in the political and security situation in Guinea Bissau and Mali. They also took note of the report of the President of the Regional Contact Group on Guinea Bissau H.E Goodluck Jonathan, relating to the consultations of the Group with the protagonists of the Guinea Bissau crisis.
After a careful analysis of the reports, The Authority decided as follows:
The Authority strongly condemns the clashes that began on April 12th 2012 in Bamako, and deplores their adverse impact on the life and security of the Malian population already traumatized by recent events in the country. Authority appeals to the Armed Forces for an immediate cessation of the confrontations and to unite in defense of the territorial integrity of the country.
Authority heard the briefings by the interim President HE Dioncounda Traore, and the Prime Minister, and took note of their statements on developments in the situation in Mali. Authority urges them to pursue their efforts to consolidate the Republican institutions and, in conjunction with the Mediator, facilitate cooperation between the government of Mali and ECOWAS with a view to attaining the objectives set by the April 26th 2012 summit.
Summit therefore requests the transitional authority to expedite the preparation of the transition road map with the time frame of activities regarding legislative organizational and operational measures, leading to the holding of presidential elections, and total restoration of constitutional order, including the establishment of a framework for consultation on serious issues relating to the implementation of the transition, with the facilitation of the Mediator.
Authority renews its call on the Malian Armed Forces to dedicate themselves to the republican responsibility to protect the territorial integrity and the population. In that regard, Authority requests the Mediator to review the role of the CNRDRE in the transition, and in consonance with the Framework Agreement to make appropriate recommendations to Authority.
Summit recalls that any person who destabilizes the transitional processes shall be liable to targeted sanctions as set out in its decision of March 29th 2012.
Authority instructs the Commission to transmit this decision to the Peace and Security Council of the African Union, the UN Security Council and other partners to seek their support on the matter.
Authority instructs the Commission to prepare the ECOWAS Standby Force with a view to its immediate deployment as soon as the Malian authorities make the relevant request. Authority consequently instructs the Commission to define the modalities for military cooperation between the Malian Army and ESF in view of the deployment. Authority also instructs the Commission to forge contact with all development partners to ensure their participation in the effective and rapid financing of the intervention.
Authority expresses gratitude to the Mediator, HE Blaise Compaore , for his relentless efforts in the resolution of the double crises in Mali and encourages it to persevere in that direction including maintaining contacts with the rebellion in north. In that regard, Summit welcomes the availability of HE Goodluck Jonathan in assisting the Mediator in the quest for a negotiated solution to the crisis in the north.
Authority instructs the Group of six Heads of State responsible for monitoring the Malian issue to take charge of all relevant matters relating to this dossier.
ON GUINEA BISSAU
The Authority welcomes the release of the Prime Minister Mr. Carlos Gomes Junior and the interim President of the Republic Mr. Raimundo Pereira on April 27th 2012 and demands that the Military Command release all other personalities still detained illegally in the country.
Authority welcomes the effort of the ECOWAQS Mediator for the Guinea Bissau crisis HE Alpha Conde of Guinea and commends the Regional Contact Group for the initiatives taken to find appropriate solutions to end the crisis.
The Authority thanked HE Yayah Jammeh for hosting and conducting the consultations on the crisis in Guinea Bissau in Banjul on April 29th 2012.
Authority reiterates its firm condemnation of the ZERO TOLERANCE for any attainment or maintenance of power through unconstitutional means.
Consequently, summit reiterates its demand for an immediate return to constitutional order.
After close consideration of the national context and the position of the various stakeholders in the crisis, Authority confirms its previous decision on the twelve – month transition period during which the following shall be undertaken with the assistance of ECOWAS: a review of legal texts (constitutional, electoral code, etc) to achieve greater efficiency; the reform of the defense and security sector and other reforms, with the assistance of ECOWQAS , with the aim of preparing the group for holding. Thus the foundation shall be laid for the organization of new elections with a view of electing a substantive President by the end of the transition.
In the desire to lead the transition in full respect the Constitution, Authority recommends that the National Assembly renew its bureau, through a vote, whereby the new speaker of the Assembly thus elected shall serve as Interim President.
The new Deputy Speaker thus elected shall then become the Speaker of the National Assembly.
A consensual Prime Minister with full powers shall be designated to lead a broad- based government that shall lead the transition to its conclusion.
The Interim President and the transitional Prime Minister shall not contest in the Presidential elections.
The tenure of the members of the Assembly shall be extended through the appropriate mechanisms to cover the transitional period.
Authority decides that the ECOWAS Standby Force, in line with the new approved mandate, shall be deployed to secure the withdrawal of the Angolan Technical Assistance Mission, to ensure the security of the transition and help implement the program for the reform of the defense and security sectors.
The Authority directs the ECOWAS Commission to seek the assistance of the African Union, the United Nations Organization and the International Community for the implementation of the measures to be taken in Guinea Bissau.
Summit hereby decides to maintain the sanctions adopted until such time all the protagonists accept the modalities for a return to constitutional order.
Authority remains seized of the situation in Guinea Bissau and mandates the Regional Group to take, on its behalf, all urgent necessary measures for the application of its decision.
The closing statement (of the summit which lasted close to the night) was delivered by President Allasane Ouattara and the vote of thanks by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
By Ralph Ese’Donnu Sawyerr, IA, Embassy of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Senegal and The Gambia.
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