ECOWAS leaders meet to discuss Cote d'Ivoire (Full Report)

Abuja, Nigeria (PANA) - The extra-ordinary summit of ECOWAS leaders, called to discuss the situation in Cote d'Ivoire, opened in Nigeria's capital, Abuja, Tuesday with leaders from seven Member States in attendance.

Host and ECOWAS Chair President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria; Presidents Abdoulaye Wade of Senegal; Faure Gnassingbe of Togo; Ahmadou Toumani Toure of Mali; John Atta Mills of Ghana; Blaise Compaore of Burkina Faso and Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf of Liberia were joined by the representatives of other member nations.

Cote d'Ivoire is not attending the meeting because it was not invited, ECOWAS officials said.

The one-day meeting is being held at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in the Nigerian capital.

The 15-member regional bloc - which has a history of resolving crises in its Member States - is expected to come up with a solution to the a brewing crisis, occasioned by the controversy dogging the 28 Nov. presidential run-off  in Cote d'Ivoire.

Incumbent Laurent Gbagbo and opposition candidate Alassane Ouattara are both laying claim to the presidency, after they were declared winner by the Constitutional Council and the Electoral Body respectively, thus raising fears of a fresh crisis in the world's leading cocoa-producing nation.

''Following the unexpected turn of events in Cote d’Ivoire after the run-off of the Presidential elections recently held there, the ECOWAS Commission
wishes to express its deep disappointment and concern at the anomalies that have attended the leadership transition in that Member State, especially the
reported inauguration today (Saturday) of the incumbent President,'' ECOWAS said in a statement  announcing the summit.

''This is more so, in view of the part played recently by the ECOWAS Observer Team in ascertaining the true wish of the electorate and the concerted
efforts made by ECOWAS and the international Community to ensure peaceful and democratic election in line with the ECOWAS Declaration on Political
Principles and the ECOWAS Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance.

''In the prevailing circumstances, ECOWAS strongly condemns any attempt to usurp the popular will of the people of Côte d’Ivoire and appeals to all
stakeholders to accept the results declared by the electoral commission,'' it said.

African Union mediator and former South Africa President Thabo Mbeki has already visited Abidjan to help find a solution to the crisis, but analysts said the AU will be guided by the decisions of the West African leaders.
-0- PANA MON/SEG 7Dec2010

07 december 2010 14:40:46

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