Thursday, May 03, 2012

Africa: ECOWAS to hold second extra-ordinary summit on Guinea Bissau, Mali

ECOWAS leaders are to hold a second extra-ordinary session in Dakar, Senegal on Thursday, 3rd May 2012 to synchronize regional responses to the unfolding political crises in two Member States – Guinea Bissau and Mali.

The summit coming eight days after the one held on 26th April in Abidjan, will review developments in Guinea Bissau following the failure by the ECOWAS Contact Group Foreign Ministers and the country’s military command to agree on the 12-month transition programme brokered by the region, including the election of a new president to replace President Bacai Sanha who died last January.

Mali for its part has seen renewed fighting between the military junta that seized power last March and troops loyal to the deposed government.

The plenary extra-ordinary summit will be preceded by the meeting of leaders of the seven-nation Contact Group which was set up by regional leaders at their 26th April 2012 extra-ordinary summit in Abidjan, to follow up on the decisions on Guinea Bissau.

The Contact Group comprises Benin, Cape Verde, The Gambia, Senegal and Togo with Nigeria as chair.

The summit of the Contact Group will on Thursday review the failed negotiations between the Group’s Foreign Ministers and representatives of the stakeholders, including members of the Guinea Bissau military command in Banjul on 29th April 2012.

In response to the failed talks, ECOWAS immediately imposed diplomatic, economic and financial sanctions on the country, as well as targeted sanctions on members of the military command and their associates.