West Africa leaders give 4 days ultimatum to resolve Gambia crisis

Gambian President Yahya Jammeh welcomes Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari to Banjul

Leaders meeting at a Franco-African summit in the Malian capital Bamako on Saturday set January 19 as deadline to solve the Gambian political crisis, Radio France Internationale quoted Togolese President Faure Gnassingbe as saying.

January 19 is the date when president-elect Adama Barrow has vowed to take power, despite outgoing President Yahya Jammeh not accepting his defeat in the December 1 election.

Mr. Barrow attended the summit bringing together French President Francois Hollande and more than 30 African leaders, while Mr. Jammeh was absent.

“The choice of Gambian voters in favour of Adama Barrow must be respected,” Mr. Hollande said.

Mr. Barrow arrived in Bamako with Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, who had met both him and Mr. Jammeh in the Gambian capital Banjul on Friday.

A statement from Mr. Barrow’s office said Mr. Jammeh’s meeting with Mr. Buhari and other mediators from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) was “unproductive”.

Mr. Barrow’s spokesman, Halifa Sallah, said ECOWAS would nevertheless continue its mediation efforts.

Gambia has been in a political deadlock since Mr. Barrow, a real estate mogul who was little known before he announced his candidacy, defeated Mr. Jammeh in the election.

Mr. Jammeh, who has ruled the small West African nation for 22 years with an iron fist, has filed a petition to challenge the election result at the Supreme Court.

The talks with ECOWAS came several hours after Gambia’s ruling party filed a motion with the Supreme Court to prevent Mr. Barrow from being sworn into office on January 19.

The African Union said Friday said it will cease to recognise Mr. Jammeh as president after that date.

ECOWAS earlier pledged to send troops to ensure a peaceful transition of power in Gambia if Mr. Jammeh persists in his refusal to step down.


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