African Press Organization (APO)
30 April, 2012
The Gambian President, Alhaji Yahya Jammeh, has warned that the region was “losing its patience” over the perennial political crisis in Guinea Bissau and would not allow a tiny minority to take the country and region hostage to their interests.
“You have a choice today to make a clean break with the past,” he said on Sunday, 29th April 2012, while opening a meeting of Foreign Ministers of the ECOWAS Contact Group set up by regional leaders to coordinate actions for the restoration of peace to Guinea Bissau, following the 12th April military triggered by the 18th March 2012 inconclusive presidential election.
President Jammeh described the latest regional effort to restore peace to the country as a “last ditch effort to resolve the crisis peacefully to avert an ECOWAS intervention.”
He however assured that the region was willing to accompany Guinea Bissau in the process of restoring durable peace and security, working with all the stakeholders.
“This is the second meeting being hosted here within the last five years on Guinea Bissau and in as much as ECOWAS is willing to help you, you are the only people who can make this possible,” the Gambian leader told the meeting attended by some 30 representatives of the various stakeholders in the country.
He blamed “senseless wars and divisions” for exacerbating the pervasive poverty in the region in spite of its rich resource endowments,” saying that development can only be guaranteed with unity and stability.
The President of the ECOWAS Commission, Ambassador Kadre Desire Ouédraogo said the meeting was a “historic opportunity” to seek the sustainable resolution of the current crisis based on regional instruments.
He urged the stakeholders to subordinate their narrow interests to those of the country so that they can bequeath to future generations, a country that is stable and peaceful, assuring that ECOWAS stood behind the country.
While the president applauded the release from detention of Prime Minister Carlos Gomes, Jnr and the Interim President, Raimundo Pereira, he urged the military command to also release the other political detainees held in the wake of the coup, which has been rejected and condemned by ECOWAS and the rest of the international community.
The seven-nation contact group on Guinea Bissau which is chaired by Nigeria also includes Benin, Cape Verde, The Gambia, Guinea, Senegal and Togo.
The ministers’ meeting will be followed by that of the Heads of State and Government of the group on 3rd May, 2012.