Ghana: President Mahama to attend ECOWAS summit as standoff looms

Accra, Ghana (PANA) - Ghana's President John Dramani Mahama will attend Tuesday's Extraordinary ECOWAS Summit in Nigeria to discuss the political situation in Burkina Faso, the presidency said in Accra, the nation's capital.

The meeting is taking place against the background of a looming standoff between the presidential guards, who launched the 17 Sept. coup, and the regular army, which says it will disarm the coup makers.

The Abuja meeting follows mediation efforts led by the current ECOWAS chairman, President Macky Sall of Senegal, and Benin's President Boni Yayi, after the coup by the Burkinabe Presidential Guards led by Brig.-Gen. Gilbert Diendere.

The Government of Ghana is one of many countries and organisations that have condemned the coup, saying it violates with impunity "the internationally brokered process to promote the principle of entrenching democracy and constitutional governance in Burkina Faso".    

Gen. Diendere has said he is committed to handing over power to civil authorities based on the proposals of ECOWAS Mediators.

His statement on Monday can avoid a bloodbath between the regular soldiers and the coup makers, who are members of the presidential guards loyal to Blaise Comapore, who was ousted in a show of people's power last year.

Gen. Diendere also said Prime Minister Issac Zida, who is still being held by the coup makers after last Thursday's coup, would be released, and apologised for the loss of lives in the take-over. At least 10 people are said to have died.

Earlier on Monday, in a statement issued in Ouagadougou, the army chief of staff, Brig.-Gen. Pingrenoma Zagré, asked the presidential guards to lay down their arms, warning that military units from several regions were on their way to Ouagadougou "to face them".

The Burkina Faso capital has been in the hands of the powerful presidential guards since the 17 Sept. coup which, they said, was launched because supporters of Compaore have been disqualified from running for next month's presidential and parliamentary elections.

Hundreds of protesters have been burning tyres on roads as they reject the coup.

The African Union, United Nations, Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), US, France and several countries have condemned the coup.

ECOWAS mediation team's recommendations have been rejected by civil society groups, among others.

PANA reported that the ECOWAS leaders would consider the 13-point deal hammered out by the organization's mediators.

Under the deal, the ousted transitional government will be reinstated and led by interim President Michel Kafando, so it can continue with the political transition programme. However, instead of the 11 Oct. 2015 date fixed for general elections, a new date of 22 Nov. 2015 has been proposed.

Significantly, the reinstated government will not include the military, indicating that Prime Minister Isaac Zida, seen as a Diendere arch foe, may have been tactically removed from the transition administration. Zida was second in command of the presidential guards when Compaore was ousted in a show of people's power in October last year.

The role of the military in the new dispensation will be limited to ensuring the protection of lives and property and ensuring an end to all human rights abuses.

Also, as part of the deal, all those who have been implicated in the coup of 17 Sept. would be granted amnesty, the allies of former President Blaise Compaore, earlier banned from participating in the elections, would be allowed to join while the Mediators will be fully involved in the implementation of the agreement.
-0- PANA MA/SEG 22Sept2015

22 Setembro 2015 08:23:00

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