Sierra Leone Telegraph: 4 May 2012
Leaders of the West African sub-region have got their work cut out, seeking a peaceful and urgent resolution to the ongoing political impasse in Mali and Guinea Bissau, where the military have taken upon themselves to usurp the democratic freedoms and will of the people.
The meeting, which took place yesterday, 3 May, 2012, in Dakar – Senegal, was chaired by Alassane Ouattara – President of the Republic of Cote d’Ivoire and Chairman of the Authority, as part of efforts by ECOWAS to examine the evolution of the political and security situations in Guinea Bissau and Mali, since the last Extraordinary Session held on 26 April 2012.
Present at the summit were; Blaise Compaore – President of Burkina Faso, Jose Maria – Pereira Neves – Prime Minister and Head of Government of the Republic of Cape Verde, Alassane Ouattara – President of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire, Yahya Jammeh – President of the Republic of The Gambia, John Evans Atta-Mills – President of the Republic of Ghana, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf – President of the Republic of Liberia, Dioncounda Traore – Interim President of the Republic of Mali, Mahamadou Issoufou – President of the Republic of Niger, Goodluck Jonathan – President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Macky Sall – President of the Republic of Senegal, Faure Essozimna Gnassingbe – President of the Togolese Republic, Nassirou Bako-Arifari – Minister of Foreign Affairs – Republic of Benin, François Lonseny Fall – Minister of State – Secretary General of the Presidency of the Republic of Guinea, and Khadijatu Bassir – Ambassador Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Sierra Leone in Senegal
Also represented at the summit were; The African Union (AU), The West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU), The United Nations Organization (UNO), The European Union (EU), Community of Portuguese Language Countries (CPLP) Algeria, Austria, France, Germany, Portugal, United Kingdom, and the United States of America (USA).
The Heads of State and Government took note of the Report of H.E. Blaise Compaore – ECOWAS Mediator in the Malian crisis, as well as the Report of the President of the ECOWAS Commission, on recent developments in the political and security situations in Guinea Bissau and Mali.
They also took note of the Report of the President of the Regional Contact Group on Guinea Bissau (GRC-GB) – Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, on the outcome of the consultations of the Group with the protagonists in the Guinea Bissau crisis.
After careful analysis of the reports, the summit agreed the following:
- “Authority strongly condemns the clashes that began on 30 April 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 heard the briefings by the Interim President, H.E. Dioncounda Traore, and the Prime Minister, and takes note of their statements on the latest developments in Mali. Authority urges them to pursue their efforts aimed at consolidating the Republican institutions and, in conjunction with the Mediator, facilitating cooperation between the Government and ECOWAS.”
- “In this regard, Summit requests the transitional authority to expedite action on the development of the roadmap for the transition, with set timelines for activities (adoption of legislative, organizational, and operational measures), leading to the holding of presidential elections and full restoration of constitutional order, including the establishment of a consultative framework on critical 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 of protecting the territorial integrity of the country and the population. In that regard, Authority requests the Mediator to review the role of the CNRDRE in the transition, in consultation with the transitional Authorities within the limits of the Framework Agreement, and make appropriate recommendations to Authority.”
- “Summit reminds all that any attempt from any quarters to destabilize the transition process shall be liable to targeted sanctions as set out in the Summit Decisions of 29 March 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 hold the ECOWAS Standby Force (ESF) in readiness for immediate deployment as soon as the Malian authorities make the relevant request. In this regard, Authority 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 establish contact with all development partners to ensure their participation in the effective and rapid financing of the intervention.”
- “Authority expresses gratitude to the Mediator, H.E. Blaise Compaoré, for his relentless efforts in the resolution of the double crises in Mali and encourages him to persevere in that direction, including maintaining contacts with the rebellion in the north. In that regard, Summit welcomes the availability of H.E. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan to assist 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 crisis to take charge of all relevant matters relating to this dossier.”
On Guinea Bissau
- “Authority welcomes the release of the Prime Minister Mr. Carlos Gomes Junior and the Interim President of the Republic Mr. Raimundo Pereira on 27th April 2012, and demands that the Military Command release all other personalities still detained illegally in the country.”
- “Authority commends H.E. Alpha Conde, President of Guinea and ECOWAS Mediator in the Guinea Bissau crisis, for his efforts. It also commends the Regional Contact Group for the urgent initiatives in the search for appropriate solutions to the crisis.”
- “Authority thanks H.E. Sheikh Prof. Alhaji Dr. Yahya A.J.J. Jammeh, President of the Republic of the Gambia, for hosting and conducting the consultations on the crisis in Guinea Bissau in Banjul 29th April 2012.”
- “Authority reiterates its firm condemnation of the coup d’Etat of 12th April 2012 and recalls its principle of “zero tolerance” for power obtained or maintained by unconstitutional means.”
- “Consequently, Summit reiterates its demand for an immediate return to constitutional order.”
- “After careful consideration of the national context and the positions of the various stakeholders in the crisis, Authority confirms its previous decision to establish a twelve-month transition, during which the following measures shall be taken with the assistance of ECOWAS: a review of legal texts (constitution, electoral code, etc.) to achieve greater efficiency; the reform of the defense and security sector and other reforms, with a view to preparing the ground for the holding of fresh elections to choose a substantive President by the end of the transition.”
- “Authority recommends that, in order to lead the transition within the framework of the Constitution, the National Assembly renews its leadership, through a vote, whereby the new Speaker of the Assembly thus elected shall assume the responsibility of Interim President.”
- “The new Deputy Speaker thus elected shall 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 be eligible to contest in the envisaged presidential election.”
- “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 (MISSANG); to ensure the security of the transition, and help in the implementation of the Defense and Security Sector Reform Programme.”
- “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 imposed until such time that all the protagonists accept the modalities for a return to constitutional order.”
- “Authority remains seized with the situation in Guinea Bissau and mandates the Regional Contact Group to take, on its behalf, all urgent necessary measures for the application of its decisions.”