The Authority of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS has appointed Dr Mohammed Ibn Chambas as a Special Envoy to Guinea to strengthen dialogue with the authority towards the successful and short transitional process.
The decision was taken at the extraordinary session of the authority held in Accra yesterday.
The President of the ECOWAS Commission, Mr Jean Claude Kassi Brou, who announced this at a press conference after the closed-door meeting, said the authority, after deliberations, endorsed the main recommendation contained in a memorandum on the political situation in Guinea.
The meeting also endorsed a report on the political situation in Mali, which was made available after visits to the two countries by high-powered ECOWAS delegations led by the ECOWAS Chairman, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
Yesterday’s meeting was to review the political developments in the two countries and advance deliberations on the political situation.
The membership of Mali and Guinea in the community has been suspended as a result of the recent military takeover of their governments.
The extraordinary session was chaired by President Akufo-Addo, and in attendance were Presidents Alassane Ouattara of Cote d’Ivoire, Umaro Sissoco Embaló of Guinea Bissau, Mohamed Bazoum of Niger and Macky Sall of Senegal.
The others were the Vice-President of Benin, Mr Chabi Talatathe; the Vice-President of Nigeria, Oluyemi Osinbajo; Prime Minister Christophe Marie Joseph Dabiré of Burkina Faso, the Minister of Trade, Industry, Regional Integration and Employment, Seedy Keita; the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Togo, Mr Robert Dussey, and the Ambassador of Cape Verde to Nigeria, Mr Belarmino Monteiro Silva.
On the transitional situation in Guinea, Mr Brou said the authority reaffirmed its demand for the unconditional release of former President Alpha Conde, and noted the recent development in Mali — the adoption of a transitional charter and the appointment of a Prime Minister — as well as the formation of a transitional government.
He said the Heads of State urged the transitional authorities to submit a detailed timetable of activities to be carried out in the transition towards the holding of elections, in accordance with the decision of the extraordinary summit of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government held in September this year.
At that meeting, Mr Brou said, the authority had upheld the suspension of Guinea from all ECOWAS governing bodies, as well as a travel ban and a freeze on financial assets of the members of the National Committee for Reconciliation and Development (CNRD) and their family members until constitutional order was restored.
Touching on the political transition in Mali, the ECOWAS Commission President said the authority remained concerned about the deterioration of the security situation in Mali as a result of the heightened political uncertainties in that country.
“The authority called on the transitional authority to intensify its efforts to improve the security situation, especially by ensuring effective state presence in the affected area,” he said.
He called on neighbouring countries to step up their security presence along the border with Mali and instructed the ECOWAS Commission to deepen the ongoing discussion with the AU Commission with the view to enhancing the security situation in the Sahel.
The Authority of Heads of State and Government highly deplored the lack of progress made in preparation for elections in Mali, including the absence of a detailed timetable of activities for the conduct of elections on the agreed date, Mr Brou said, and reiterated the need to adhere to the transitional timetable in respect of the elections scheduled for February 27, 2022.
“In conformity with the decision taken on September 16, 2021, the authority decided to impose sanctions with immediate effects on individuals and groups which have been identified, including the entire members of the transitional authority and other transitional institutions,” he said.
The authority condemned the expulsion of the ECOWAS Permanent Representative in Mali and further instructed the President of the commission to propose additional sanctions at its next ordinary session, scheduled for December 12, this year, should the situation persist.
President Akufo-Addo, at the opening of the extraordinary session, said the military governments in Mali and Guinea had met the requirements of sending delegations to Ghana to meet with him to outline their plans for the future.
He said visits by delegations of the military leaders came on the heels of visits by a high-powered ECOWAS delegation to Mali and Guinea to convey the sentiments of the community and engage the respective military governments on the way forward.
“We also visited the former President of Guinea, Prof. Alpha Conde, to satisfy ourselves about his welfare and plans for the future,” the ECOWAS Chairman added.
He indicated that reports of the visits would be laid before the Heads of State during the closed session of the extraordinary session today.
The ECOWAS Chairman, on behalf of the authority, expressed solidarity with and sympathies to Niger and Sierra Leone on recent tragic happenings in those countries.
More than 68 Nigerien civilians were killed in an attack by jihadist groups in a Nigerien town near the Malian border last Tuesday, while last Saturday, about 100 Sierra Leoneans perished in an explosion after an oil tanker had collided with a lorry in Freetown, the Sierra Leonean capital.
On behalf of ECOWAS Heads of State, President Akufo-Addo expressed deep regret and condolences on the “sad incidents” and observed a minute’s silence in memory of the victims and the population of the respective countries.