By Temitope Ponle and Ismaila Chafe
The Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government on Saturday endorsed the appointments of President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria and his Ghanaian counterpart John Dramani Mahama, as Chief Mediator and Co-Mediator respectively, in the Gambian political impasse.
The Chair of the ECOWAS Council of Ministers, Mrs Marjon Kamara, announced this while presenting an 11-page communique issued at the end of the 50th Ordinary Session of the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government, held in Abuja on Saturday.
She said: “The mediation process shall be conducted on the basis of terms agreed by the Authority of Heads of State and Government.’’
The Authority also called on government and the coalition parties to show restraint in order to preserve national unity and respect the will of the Gambian people.
They called on the country’s defence and security forces to perform their role in a nationalistic manner and protect lives and property.
The Heads of State also called for restraint and respect for the rule of law from stakeholders within and outside The Gambia.
On the situation in Guinea Bissau, the Authority expressed its concern over the protracted political and institutional crisis due to the inability of stakeholders to reach a lasting and consensual solution.
They urged the president of Guinea Bissau to comply with the provisions of the Conakry Accord and called on all parties to strictly respect and comply with the tenets of the Accord.
“The Authority directs the commission to provide the necessary technical support required for the implementation of Conakry Accord.
“The Authority once again commends the non-interference of the army in the political crisis and strongly urges it to continue in like manner.”
The leaders reiterated the withdrawal of the ECOWAS Mission in Guinea Bissau on June 20, 2017 and directed the commission to commence operations for the gradual withdrawal in the first quarter of 2017.
On the situation in Mali, the Authority noted that challenges there were challenges to the effective implementation of the Peace and reconciliation Agreement despite the progress made.
They condemned recent terrorist attacks and reaffirmed its commitment to the unity, territorial integrity and sovereignty of Mali and urged all stakeholders to comply with the peace process.
“The Authority calls on groups signatories to the Peace and Reconciliation Agreement to show good faith, sincerity and goodwill in the commitment.
“This is with regard to the agreement following the adoption of measures by Government to facilitate their integration into the institutional arrangement.”
They called on partners to provide the necessary support to the Government of Mali for the effective implementation of the Agreement.
“The president of the commission was also directed to organise, as soon as possible, an international conference on the security situation in Mali in conjunction with the AU and UN.
“The conference would assess the most appropriate means of intervention likely to enhance the efficiency of the actions underway to preserve Mali’s territorial integrity.”
The Authority expressed satisfaction over the return to constitutional order and the restoration of political stability in Burkina Faso, since the 2015 presidential elections.
They urged the Burkinabe authorities to expedite the implementation of institutional and security sector reforms.
They also called on development partners to honour the commitments made at the Paris conference in Dec. 2015 to support the country’s economic rebuilding efforts. (NAN)