An extraordinary summit by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to discuss and respond to the political impasse in Guinea is underway in Accra.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, ECOWAS Chair, who opened the meeting, which would also discuss the situation in Mali, urged his counterparts to take the required bold decisions to restore democracy and peace in the region.
“We are required to take informed decisions on these matters that will have a long time consequences on the security and the defence of democratic values of our region.
“I count on you to help proffer durable solutions to the crisis. I am confident, as in the past, that we will rise to the occasion,” he said.
The Summit will discuss the outcome of the high-level mission that the Bloc sent to Guinea last week after the virtual emergency meeting of the region’s leaders on September 8, 2021, following the ouster of President Alpha Conde by an elite unit of that country’s military.
The Bloc at that meeting suspended Guinea’s membership, and asked the military junta to return the country to constitutional order, and to unconditionally release President Conde and all those held.
The High-Level mission, led by Ghana’s Foreign Minister Shirley Ayorkor Botchway last Friday went to Guinea, met the military rulers led by Lieutenant Colonel Mamady Doumbouya, and saw President Conde at where his is being held in detention.
But the military leaders, after consultations with the ECOLWAS mission, outlined a number of conditions before hand over to civilian rule.
The bloc is expected to leverage the Accra meeting to reinforce its objection to the unconstitutional political change in that country, take a firmer decision on the matter, and possibly impose sanctions on the West African nation.
Eight leaders, including the Presidents of Togo, Cote d’Ivoire, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea Bissau and Niger, are taking part in the meeting. Nigeria is being represented by its Vice President. Three other foreign ministers and a prime minister are representing their countries.
Soldiers, led by a former French Legionnaire, Lt. Col. Doumbouya, announced on September 5, 2021 that they had seized power and arrested 83-year old President Conde, and suspended the Constitution of the West African nation.
They appeared on national television, with some draped in the red, gold and green flag of Guinea, to announce that the Government had been dissolved because of rampant corruption.
The military junta who called themselves the National Rally and Development Committee, closed all land and air borders for a week.
President Conde, Guinea’s longest ruler is still being held by the coup makers. Some other persons who were arrested in the process have been released.