Lagos, Nigeria (PANA) - An emergency meeting of the ECOWAS Joint Chiefs of Defence Staff opened Thursday in Abidjan, the Ivorian capital, to discuss the political situation in Mali, including the possible deployment of a regional military force to the country.
A press statement, received by PANA here, said that the meeting followed the directive of the extraordinary summit of ECOWAS leaders held on 27 March in Abidjan.
The defence chiefs are discussing the possible deployment of the ECOWAS Standby Force in Mali following the overthrow of the government of the democratically-elected President Amadou Toumani Toure in the coup on 22 March, led by a military junta and the Toureg rebellion in the northern part of the country.
The coup has been widely condemned by the international community, including ECOWAS which has imposed diplomatic and economic sanctions on the junta, to force immediate restoration of constitutional order in the country.
ECOWAS and the African Union have also suspended Mali and are leading international efforts to isolate the junta and force it to hand power back to constitutionally-elected authorities, in line with the regional Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance, and zero-tolerance for forceful take over of government.
-0- PANA PR/VAO 6April2012