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The Authority of Heads of State and Government of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) convened an Extraordinary Session in Accra, Ghana, on 7th November 2021, under the chairmanship of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, President of Ghana and Chair of the ECOWAS Authority.
The Summit was to review political developments in Guinea and Mali.
The Authority expressed solidarity with Niger, Nigeria and Sierra Leone over the incidents that took place in these Member States in which scores of lives were lost due to terrorism and an inferno, respectively.
The Authority observed a minute of silence in memory of the victims.
On the political transition in Guinea, ECOWAS reaffirmed its demand for the unconditional release of President Alpha Condé.
“The Authority takes note of the recent developments in Guinea, particularly the adoption of the transition charter, the appointment of a civilian Prime Minister and the formation of the transition government. It urges the transition authorities to urgently submit a detailed timetable of activities to be carried out under the transition towards the holding of elections, in accordance with the decisions of the Extraordinary Summit of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government held on 16th September 2021,” a communique after the meeting said.
ECOWAS further decided to uphold the suspension of Guinea from all ECOWAS governing bodies as well as the travel ban and freeze of financial assets imposed on the members of the CNRD and their family members, until constitutional order is restored.
The Authority also appointed Dr Mohamed Ibn Chambas as Special Envoy to Guinea with a view to strengthening dialogue with the transitional authorities towards a successful and short transition process.
On the political transition in Mali, ECOWAS said it remains concerned about the deterioration of the security situation as a result of the heightened political uncertainties in the country.
It called on the transition authorities to intensify their efforts to improve the security situation, especially by ensuring effective state presence in the affected areas.
In this context, ECOWAS called on the neighbouring countries to step up security presence along their borders with Mali and instructed the ECOWAS Commission to deepen the ongoing discussions with the African Union Commission with a view to enhancing the security situation in the Sahel.
ECOWAS further called for a more robust and offensive mandate and enhance the operational capacity of MINUSMA to deal with terrorism challenges in Mali.
ECOWAS said it will accordingly request the United Nations Security Council to make the necessary amendments to the mandate of MINUSMA.
On the political front, the Chair of ECOWAS informed the Authority of the official notification by the transition authorities of their inability to meet the transition deadline of February 2022.
“The Authority highly deplores the lack of progress made in the preparations for the elections, including the absence of a detailed timetable of activities for the conduct of elections on the agreed dates. The Authority reiterates the need to adhere to the transition timetable in respect of the elections scheduled for 27th February 2022 and calls on the Transition Authorities to act accordingly to ensure expeditious return to constitutional order,” the communique said.
Accordingly, ECOWAS called on the International Community to take the necessary measures to ensure that the transition authorities respect their commitment to an expeditious return to constitutional order.
In conformity with the decision taken on 16th September 2021, the Authority decided to impose sanctions with immediate effect against individuals and groups who have been identified, including the entire transition authorities and the other transition institutions.
These sanctions according to ECOWAS, will also be imposed on the members of their families. The sanctions include a travel ban and a freeze on their financial assets.
It further instructed the President of the Commission to consider and propose additional sanctions at its next Ordinary Session on 12th December 2021, should the situation persist.
Furthermore, the Authority called on the African Union, the United Nations, and the bilateral and other multilateral partners to endorse and support the implementation of these sanctions.
The Authority also condemned the expulsion of the ECOWAS Permanent Representative to Mali in this critical context and called on the transition authorities to uphold the spirit of dialogue and collaboration with the ECOWAS Commission to ensure a successful transition.
The situation in Mali and Guinea will be reviewed at the Ordinary Summit of the ECOWAS Heads of State and Government on 12th December 2021.
The Authority reaffirms its adherence to all the ECOWAS normative frameworks, particularly the ECOWAS Supplementary Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance.
The Heads of State and Government expressed their gratitude to Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, President of Ghana and Chair of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government, for his leadership in ensuring the success of the Summit.