Lagos, Nigeria (PANA) - For the second time in as many weeks, ECOWAS is to hold an extraordinary summit on the situation in two of its member states - Guinea-Bissau and Mali - which are reeling from the effects of military coups that toppled the constitutional order in both nations.
PANA learnt Wednesday that the meeting of the regional Contact Group on Guinea-Bissau, scheduled for Dakar, Senegal, Thursday, has now been upgraded to a full summit that will also tackle the latest developments in Mali.
The extraordinary summit, which follows the one held last Thursday in Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire, on the same issues, will still hold in the Senegalese capital.
Efforts by the seven-nation Contact Group, which met at the ministerial level in Banjul, The Gambia, on Sunday to push a return to constitutional order in Guinea-Bissau within 12 months, failed, forcing the regional bloc to slam diplomatic, economic and financial sanctions on the country.
Heads of State and Government of the group, which comprises Benin, Cape Verde, The Gambia, Guinea, Senegal, Togo and by Nigeria (Chair), had been due to follow up on the Banjul meeting with a summit in Dakar Thursday, before the decision to expand the agenda to include Mali.
Mali was added to the agenda following the latest developments in the country, especially the decision by the Junta to reject the deployment of ECOWAS troops to help the country to regain control of its northern region which is now in the hands of Tuareg rebels and their Islamist allies.
A counter-coup launched by some elements of the presidential guard, which the Junta claims to have quashed Tuesday, also led to renewed fighting in Bamako.
Despite threats by the 15-member regional bloc to use force, if necessary, to help Mali to regain its unity and territorial integrity, it has continued to pursue its mediation effort, which is being handled by President Blaise Compaore of Burkina Faso, in collaboration with Algeria, Mauritania and Nigeria.
-0- PANA SEG 2May2012