Bissau Junta rejects Ecowas demands
Wednesday, May 02, 2012
Efforts to sway the military junta in Guinea Bissau that seized power on April 12, 2012 to accept the demands of the regional grouping, the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) for constitutional order to be restored in the country has failed to reach any agreement, officials announced at around 3:30am early Monday morning after the end of talks in Banjul.
that lasted for more than 12 hours in closed-door and chaired by President
Yahya Jammeh on behalf of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, chair of the Ecowas
Contact Group on Guinea Bissau, was seeking to convince the Junta in Bissau to
accept the demands of the sub-regional bloc or else face the full force of
the demands on the table at the Sunday Banjul Summit was for the junta to take
immediate steps to restore constitutional order in Guinea Bissau as demanded by
the Ecowas Summit of 26 April 2012 in Abidjan; to establish a 12-month
transition, within which a review of critical legal texts (constitution and
electoral code; security sector reform and other reforms, that would be
undertaken with the facilitation of Ecowas, to pave the way for the conduct of
fresh elections to choose a substantive president within the duration of the
transition); reinstate Raimundo Pereira as the interim president; the Military
Command to hold the Defence and Interior portfolios within the transitional
Cabinet; deploy the Ecowas Standby Force to secure the withdrawal of the
Angolan technical and military mission and to help secure the transition and
also help commence the implementation of the DSSR programme; and so on.
“After more than 12 hours of negotiations, it became obvious that the Contact Group was negotiating with only one person – General Antonio Indjai – the chief of Defence Staff of Guinea Bissau, the head of the Junta, who is not willing to negotiate and clearly prefers to face the consequences, claiming that Ecowas is just playing games,” reads the summary findings of the closed-door discussion, relayed to an audience that included diplomats and others by the Ecowas Commission’s director of Political Affairs, Dr. Abdel Fatou Musa. “At the end of the discussions, no agreement was reached with the Military Command and its allies in the crisis,” he further disclosed.
rejection of the position of the Regional Contact Group, according Dr. Musa,
meant that the imposition of sanctions that include targeted sanctions on
members of the Junta and their associates; diplomatic, economic and financial
sanctions on Guinea Bissau, amongst others had kick-in at midnight on April 29,
measures, he posited, include for “Ecowas to take all other measures to ensure
the implementation of the Summit Decisions on Guinea Bissau,” and that the
African Union, the United Nations and other partners will be requested to adopt
similar measures against Guinea Bissau, to reinforce the Ecowas sanctions.
“The Ministerial Contact Group will report to the Chairman of the Contact Group on Guinea Bissau, and a meeting will be convened at the level of Heads of State on 3 May, 2012, to take all other necessary measures, including the use of force to enforce the Decisions of Summit,” Dr. Musa concluded.
Speaking at the end of the meeting, The Gambian leader reminded the Bissau actors that “all of them would go home being responsible for the consequences that would follow,” stressing that it was made very clear on the onset during the opening session that the Contact Group was not at the Banjul Summit to negotiate but that all what they wanted was to give them a chance to choose what is in the best interest of the people of Guinea Bissau.
The Gambian leader, while lamenting that unfortunately, the Bissau Guineans have decided to take the “red card”, made it clear that Ecowas’ decisions on Guinea Bissau will be implemented to the letter.
make one thing very clear that we are not playing games and we are very serious
about implementing the decisions to the letter and we want to assure you that
since you have opted for the use of force, on the 3rd of May, we will decide
when and where we are going to start.
This decision will not be entirely restricted to action by Ecowas, but we also have the right to invite the international community that also have a stake to make sure that decisive military action is taken,” he told the members of the junta and other stakeholders in Bissau politics.
Emphasising that the Bissau-Guineas have opted for it as it was not Ecowas’ choice, President Jammeh stressed that as heads of state they will “not negotiate with an individual who has apparent disregard for human lives, for the constitution and so on.”
“It is unfortunate that you have opted for violence and we have no choice but
to implement the Ecowas decision as it was done in other instances such as
Sierra Leone, Liberia and so on. Before Guinea Bissau, Mali had a coup, they
were given the same conditions of 72 hours, which they accepted as a result of
which Ecowas is going to help them to resolve the question of the north
peacefully but in the event that the north reject, military force is going to
be used. The same yardstick is what we used in Guinea Bissau, but you have the
luxury that the people of Mali didn’t have.”
The Gambian leader informed the Bissau-Guineans that the sanctions, which he said are both targeted and general, “are already in force,” stressing that they will be followed by other necessary actions that “will not fail”.
“Let me make it very clear that Ecowas has never failed in anywhere more so in Guinea Bissau. We fought for 10 years in Liberia and Ecowas prevailed; we are ready to fight for the next 100 years to make sure that Ecowas’ decision in Guinea Bissau is implemented to the letter,” he concluded.
Author: Hatab Fadera