Speedy return to constitutional rule in Guinea, Mali not negotiable – ECOWAS leaders

Heads of state and government of ECOWAS say the demands for an expeditious return to constitutional rule in Guinea and Mali are not negotiable

Heads of state and government of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have reaffirmed their demand for an expeditious return to constitutional rule in the Republics of Guinea and Mali within the shortest possible time.

In a communiqué issued on 7 November 2021 after they took part in an extraordinary ECOWAS session on the political situation in Guinea and Mali at the Kempinski Hotel Gold Coast City in Accra, the heads of state said they remain deeply concerned about the deteriorating security situation in Mali, a corollary of the heightened political uncertainty in Mali.

ECOWAS demands

The ECOWAS leaders therefore called on the transition authorities to intensify their efforts to improve the security situation, especially by ensuring an effective state presence in the worst-affected areas.

“The Authority reiterates the need to adhere to the transition timetable in respect of the elections scheduled for 27 February 2022 and calls on the transition authorities to act accordingly to ensure an expeditious return to constitutional order,” said a final communiqué from the meeting on Mali.

Vice-President Mariam Chabi Talata of Benin and President Roch Marc Christian Kaboré of Burkina Faso stand as the ECOWAS anthem is played

“Accordingly, the Authority calls on the international community to take the necessary measures to ensure that the transition authorities respect their commitment to an expeditious return to constitutional order,” the communiqué said.

Guinea situation

On the political transition in the Republic of Guinea, the Authority reaffirmed its demand for the unconditional release of President Alpha Condé. The communiqué from the Authority further said that it “takes note of the recent developments in Guinea, particularly the adoption of the transition charter, the appointment of a civilian prime minister and the formation of the transition government”.

ECOWAS urged the transition authorities “urgently [to] submit a detailed timetable of activities to be carried out under the transition towards the holding of elections, in accordance with the decisions of the Extraordinary Summit of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government held on 16 September 2021”.

“The Authority decides to uphold the suspension of the Republic of Guinea from all ECOWAS governing bodies as well as the travel ban and freeze of financial assets imposed on the members of the CNRD [the Comité national du rassemblement et du développement, the ruling junta] and their family members, until constitutional order is restored,” the communiqué further said.

Guinea envoy / next review

The Authority appointed His Excellency Dr Mohamed Ibn Chambas to serve as its special envoy to Guinea, with a view to strengthening dialogue with the transitional authorities towards a successful and short transition process.

In addition, said ECOWAS leaders, the situation in Mali and Guinea will be reviewed at the Ordinary Summit of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government on 12 December 2021.

Opening ceremony

In his opening statement at the opening ceremony of the extraordinary session on the political situation in Guinea and Mali of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government, President Akufo-Addo, as the current chair of ECOWAS, said that leaders would deliberate on two reports to be laid before the leaders at their closed-door session.

President Akufo-Addo said a report on his visits to Guinea on 17 September 2021 and Mali on 17 October 2021 would be given consideration at the ECOWAS leaders’ meeting.

“Since these visits, the military governments of both Mali and Guinea have sent delegations to meet with me here in Accra to outline their plans for the future. Those will be the subject of our closed-door meeting,” the president said.

A cross-section of ECOWAS leaders and other guests at the summit

Heart-rending events in West Africa

President Akufo-Addo, on behalf of ECOWAS also expressed the solidarity and sympathies of the Authority with Niger and Sierra Leone, where two target events which occurred claimed over one hundred lives. The president led ECOWAS leaders to observe a minute silence in memory of the victims and the population of the two countries.

“On Tuesday 2 November, more than 68 Nigerian civilians were killed in an attack by jihadists groups in Banibangou, near the Malian border. The information was confirmed on 4 November by the Government of Niger,” President Akufo-Addo said.

“On Saturday 6 November, about a hundred Sierra Leoneans perished after an oil tanker collided with a lorry in Freetown. Some hundred people are in the hospital after sustaining injuries during the explosion.

“We express our deep regrets and condolences on these sad incidents,” President Akufo-Addo said.

Wilberforce Asare

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