Ecowas gives 72hrs ultimatum to Bissau Junta
Friday, April 27, 2012
The military junta that seized power on April 12 in Guinea Bissau ahead of a run-off presidential election has been given a 72-hour ultimatum by the sub-regional grouping, the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) to comply to its resolution that would ensure a peaceful resolution of the crisis or else face sanctions.
confirmed by the Gambian leader, His Excellency Sheikh Professor Alhaji Dr
Yahya Jammeh, who was speaking to journalists in an interview early this
morning at 00:30am at the Banjul International Airport shortly after returning
from the Ecowas Heads of State Summit on the Crisis in Guinea Bissau and Mali
in the Ivorian commercial capital, Abidjan.
given to the Bissau-Guinean junta is coming a few days after the power hungry
soldiers sought to strike a deal with opposition parties for a two-year
transition period that would exclude the former ruling party and its allies. But in the
words of President Jammeh, who is well acclaimed for his personal commitment to
solving past crises in that coup-prone former Portuguese colony, the regional
bloc is no more ruling out the “use of force” as a last resort to remedy the
“With Guinea Bissau, we have given them a deadline of 72 hours and within 72 hours if they don’t comply automatic sanctions are imposed. If still they remain to be obstinate then other options of more aggressive means will force them to comply,” the Gambian leader told journalists.
that they are now “not ruling out the use of force to make sure that the
situation in Guinea Bissau is resolved”, the Gambian leader was however quick
to point out that they are giving them a chance to come out so that they can
solve the problem peacefully as nobody wants to go to war.
continued: “But in the event that they don’t want to comply, then it will be a
different ball game altogether. So, for the first time since the Dakar Summit,
I think Ecowas now has taken the decision that there is only one language that
most people would understand and that is the use of force. But we are using
that as the last resort – we want a peaceful resolution of crisis in Guinea
President Jammeh posited that they do hope that the junta will not lose this chance, because as he puts it, there are so many things lined up for them. One of these, he said, is that “Ecowas will invite the International Criminal Court (ICC) to make a thorough investigation of all the assassinations, murders, coups and attempted coups including also drug dealing so that anybody found wanting would be taken to the international court of justice”. “But they can avoid that by negotiating with Ecowas and comply with its resolution and then we solve the problem peacefully,” he asserted.
“We are part of Ecowas”
government’s past experience in mediating in Guinea Bissau, the Gambian leader,
when asked if they will intervene to replicate such, made it clear that The
Gambia is part of Ecowas and will go by its decision unless it failed in the
“You would realise that all the time that I intervened in Guinea Bissau were
based on our own and not under any mandate; you remember from the time of the
late Nino Viera, the late Ansumana Manneh. But now we don’t want to intervene
in any situation unless the institutions responsible have failed. You member
also the election they were supposed to have and had problems, Ecowas mediated
it and failed, the African Union failed, the United Nations failed and the
international community failed. That was the time I intervened.
So somebody was appointed in Dakar to mediate so I cannot say I will because I am part of Ecowas and I should go by the bloc’s decision. That is why we are just watching but in the event that things failed, we are going to intervene and negotiate directly. But fortunately this time, they realised that there was no movement on mediation on the side of Guinea Bissau and so they decided to set up a new committee to be chaired by the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and comprised of The Gambia, Senegal, Cape Verde, and of course Guinea Conakry. But we are going to have a meeting here, we will invite them and this will be on Sunday; we will invite the junta here with the foreign ministers concerned to tell them what the situation is, discuss with them and then we take up from there.”
12-month transition for Mali
Also on the
agenda at the Abidjan meeting was the ongoing crisis in Mali, triggered by the
March 21st coup, which emboldened the Tuareg rebellion leading to their
eventual declaration of independence in the northern part of the country.
The Gambian leader disclosed that the sub-regional bloc has given a transitional period of 12 months to the Malian authorities. “With regards to Mali it has been finalised as to what is going to happen and that is we are giving them one year transition during which period they can negotiate with the Tuaregs in the north of the country because the interim president of Mali wants a peaceful resolution of the crisis and I think also the Tuaregs are giving indications that they want to negotiate. So we are giving peace a chance because the use of force should be the last resort,” he concluded.
Author: Hatab Fadera