Lagos, Nigeria (PANA) - ECOWAS leaders are meeting at an extra-ordinary summit in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, Thursday, on the political crises in Guinea-Bissau and Mali.
The summit will be addressed by the Chairman of the regional bloc, President Alassane Ouattara of Cote d'Ivoire, ECOWAS Commission President Kadre Desire Ouédraogo, Chairperson of the African Union, and the Representative of the UN Secretary General in West Africa.
Guinea-Bissau has been embroiled in crisis since the 12 April 2012 military coup that followed the 18 March 2012 inconclusive presidential election in the country to replace President Bacai Sanha, who died in January.
The crisis has stalled the presidential run-off poll earlier scheduled for 29 April 2012.
On its part, Mali is in transition after ECOWAS and the rest of the international community forced a military junta that seized power on 22 March 2012 to hand over to civilian authorities. The country is still facing a separatist rebellion in the north.
The summit is part of relentless efforts by regional leaders to restore normalcy and constitutional rule to both countries.
The West African leaders previously met in Abidjan on 27 and 29 March over regional political and security situations.
On the margin of Thursday's summit, the ECOWAS Commission President will present the regional leaders’ directive to the Commander of the ECOWAS Standby Force Joint Task Force to Guinea-Bissau.
The 638-strong regional force, drawn from Cote d'Ivoire, Burkina Faso,Nigeria, Senegal and Togo, will be deployed in Guinea-Bissau in the next few days to replace Angolan troops and provide security to institutions of state and VIP's among other things.
The Angolan troops were in the country, under the Guinea-Bissau Defence and Security Sector Reform framework.
-0- PANA SEG 26April2012