PRESS RELEASE

COMMUNIQUE DE PRESSE

Year 2012 Selected
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N°: 128/2012
4 May 2012 [DAKAR-SENEGAL]

ECOWAS LEADERS AGREE NEW MEASURES TO RESTORE PEACE TO GUINEA BISSAU, MALI

ECOWAS leaders have threatened to reinstate targeted sanctions against those who disrupt the process for the election of a new president in Mali to replace President Amadou Toumani Toure who was deposed in a military coup on 22nd March 2012. The warning came against the backdrop of the clashes in Bamako between elements of the country's armed forces which erupted on 30th April 2012. Comprehensive sanctions against the country, including targeted sanctions against members of the military junta that deposed the former president and their associates, were lifted after they agreed to hand over power to the former speaker of the parliament as interim president until the election of a new president based on a 12-month transition programme. At the end of an extraordinary summit on 3rd May 2012 in Dakar, the leaders strongly condemned the recent clashes which traumatized the population of the capital still reeling from the aftershock of the coup and appealed for the immediate cessation of hostilities so that the military can unite in the defence of the country's territorial integrity following the separatist campaign in the north of the country. They also urged the country's transition authority to expedite the preparation of a road map detailing the timeframe for various activities, including the framework for consultation on various issues that will culminate in the election of the president and the restoration of full constitutional rule. Regional leaders renewed the call on the country's armed forces to concentrate on their responsibility to protect Mali's territorial integrity and the population. In this regard, they requested the mediator in the crisis to review the role of the CNRDRE, the military junta that deposed the former president, in the transition in line with the framework agreement signed with the junta and make appropriate recommendations to the Heads of State and Government. On the deployment of the ECOWAS Standby Force (ESF) in the country, they directed the ECOWAS Commission to prepare the force for immediate deployment "as soon as the Malian authorities make the relevant request" and to define the modalities for military cooperation between the Malian army and the ESF "in view of the deployment." The summit which also discussed the current developments in Guinea Bissau following the failure of the foreign ministers of the Contact Group to reach an agreement with the stakeholders on a 12-month regional plan for the restoration of democratic rule during their 29th April 2012 meeting in Banjul. The leaders reiterated their demand for the immediate restoration of constitutional rule based on their 12-month transition programme to be agreed with ECOWAS during the 26th April 2012 extraordinary summit in Abidjan. During the programme, it is expected that critical reforms and arrangements would take place, including the review of such texts as the constitution and electoral code, to achieve greater efficiency as well as the reform of the defence and security sector. In other to respect the spirit and intent of the country's constitution during the transition, regional leaders recommended that the National Assembly renew its bureau in order to elect a new speaker who will serve as interim president. The new deputy speaker to be elected will become the speaker of the assembly while a consensual prime minister with full powers will be designated to lead an inclusive government that will lead the transition until the election to replace late President Bacai Sanha who died in January 2012. The death of the former president compelled the country to hold an election for his replacement on 18th March 2012 whose inconclusive outcome was disputed by opposition parties who refused to participate in the run-off and thereby precipitated the current crisis that resulted in the military takeover of 22nd March 2012. Regional leaders directed that the ESF should also be deployed in the country in line with the new approved mandate to secure the withdrawal of the Angolan Technical Assistance Group; ensure the security of the transition and assist in the implementation of the programme for the defence and security sector reform


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