ECOWAS kicks Guinea junta out

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West African leaders ended their extraordinary summit on Guinea in Abuja, Nigeria, on Saturday, by rejecting a military-led transition in Guinea and barring the country’s military leaders from attending meetings of all decision-making bodies of the Community, in accordance with the provision of the 2001 regional Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance.

The principles enshrined in the Protocol, which are subscribed to by all the Member States, calls for zero tolerance for power obtained or maintained by unconstitutional means and requires that accession to power should only be through free, fair and transparent elections.

The Summit urged the ruling National Council for Democracy and Development (CNDD) to take immediate steps to restore constitutional order and resolved to remain engaged with Guinea, in order to ensure the early restoration of the country to constitutional order.

In this regard, the Summit proposed modalities for restoring the rule of law in the country, including the requirement that the military junta establish a National Transitional Council, a legislative body of civilians and the military, that will work for the attainment of the objectives of returning the country to democracy by holding free, fair and transparent elections in 2009.

Members of the CNDD, the transitional Prime Minister and Members of his government will not be eligible to contest the elections which must be held before the end of 2009.

Moreover, the Summit called for the establishment of an inclusive Consultative Forum of all the country’s stakeholders that will reflect its ethnic, regional and gender diversity and constitute a framework for dialogue to strengthen national cohesion.

As a complement to these measures and to facilitate the process of the early restoration of constitutional rule, the Summit agreed on nine other accompanying activities, including the maintenance of permanent and constructive dialogue with the CNDD, all stakeholders in Guinea and partners to ensure that immediate steps were taken to implement recommendations.

It also resolved to push for the inclusion of Guinea on the agenda of the UN Peace Building Commission as a de facto fragile and post conflict country to enable the country access the UN Peace Building Fund to develop its infrastructure and facilitate the return to sustainable development.

Heads of State and Government agreed to work with the international community and internal stakeholders to establish benchmarks and timelines for the completion of identified tasks on the transition roadmap, including the completion of the voter registration exercise, the provision of voter identification cards and the mobilization of funds for these exercises.

They called on the international community to continue to provide funding for socio-economic programmes in Guinea to ensure a peaceful and successful transition.

In this regard, the Summit urged international partners, particularly the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the European Union (EU) to continue their financial support for these programmes in order to keep on track the transition to constitutional rule, democracy and good governance.

The African Union has also suspended Guinea after the Capt. Moussa Dadis Camara-led military junta grabbed power in the country last December, following the death of President Lansana Conte.

Saturday’s meeting was attended by Presidents Blaise Compaore of Burkina Faso, Laurent Gbagbo of Côte d’Ivoire, Yahya A.J.J. Jammeh of The Gambia, John Evans Atta-Mills of Ghana, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf of Liberia, Umaru Yar’Adua of Nigeria, Ernest Bai Koroma of Sierra Leone, Faure Essozimna Gnassingbé of Togo, Seini Oumarou, the Prime Minister of Niger, representing the President of the Republic of Niger and duly accredited representatives of Heads of State and Government of Cape Verde, Guinea Bissau, Benin, Mali and Senegal.

Also in attendance were the United Nations’ Secretary General’s Special Representative for West Africa, Said Djinnit and El Ghassim Wane, Representative of the Chairman of the AU Commission.

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