President Dr Julius Maada Bio was in Accra yesterday where he attended an extraordinary summit of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), chaired by President Nana Dankwa Akufo-Addo of Ghana, as the political crisis in Guinea continues after a military takeover two weeks ago.
West African leaders discussed the report of the high-level ECOWAS mission to Guinea at a closed-door session.
“We hope that this extraordinary summit will help proffer durable solution to the crisis,” President Akufo-Addo stated.
According to State House report from Freetown, “the expected intervention of His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio, during the closed-door session, will be very crucial not only as one of the closest neighbours of Guinea but also as a former military Head of State who transitioned Sierra Leone from military rule to democratic rule in the late 1990s.”
President Bio was accompanied to Accra by Sierra Leone’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Professor David J. Francis.
This is the communique issued by ECOWAS on Guinea:
The Authority of Heads of State and Government of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) convened in Extraordinary Session on 16 September 2021 in Accra, Republic of Ghana, under the chairmanship of H.E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, President of the Republic of Ghana and Chair of the Authority, to review political developments in the Republic of Guinea. The Heads of State also reviewed the latest development of the transition in the Republic of Mali.
Present at the Summit were the under-listed ECOWAS Heads of State and Government or their duly mandated representatives:
H.E. Roch Marc Christian Kabore, President of Burkina Faso;
H.E. Alassane Ouattara, President of the Republic of Cote d’Ivoire;
H.E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, President of the Republic of Ghana;
H.E. Umaro Sissoco Embalo, President of the Republic of Guinea Bissau;
H.E Georges Manneh Weah, President of the Republic of Liberia;
H.E. Mohamed Bazoum, President of the Republic of Niger;
H.E. Macky Sall, President of the Republic of Senegal;
H.E. Julius Maada Bio, President of the Republic of Sierra Leone;
H.E. Faure Essozimna Gnassingbe, President of the Togolese Republic;
H.E. Yemi Osinbajo, Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria;
H.E. Aurélien A. Agbenonci, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of the Republic of Benin;
H.E. Filomena Mendes Gonϛalves, Minister of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Cabo Verde;
H.E. Mamadou Tangara, Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation and Gambians Abroad of the Republic of The Gambia.
After consideration of the Report and subsequent deliberations, the Authority decides as follows:
a.to uphold the suspension of Guinea from all ECOWAS governing bodies until the restoration of constitutional order;
b.to ensure the conduct of presidential and legislative elections within six months in order to restore constitutional rule in the Republic of Guinea;
c.to impose sanctions, in accordance with extant ECOWAS Protocols, of travel bans on the members of the CNRD and their family members and of freeze of their financial assets;
d.to call on the African Union, the European Union, the United Nations, and other multilateral and bilateral partners to support the implementation of these sanctions;
e.to ensure that no member of the CNRD is allowed to contest in the presidential election;
f.ECOWAS to accompany Guinea in the swift resolution of the crisis and in the preparations for the elections.
The Authority calls on the African Union, the United Nations and development partners to endorse the decisions and support the restoration of constitutional rule in the Republic of Guinea.
Members of the Authority request the Chair of the Authority to visit the Republics of Guinea and Mali as soon as possible to convey in person the decision of the Authority. The Authority decides to remain actively seized on the matter.
On the Political Transition in the Republic of Mali
The Authority remains deeply concerned about the slow pace of preparations for the elections scheduled for late February 2022 in the Republic of Mali.
The Authority reiterates its demands for strict adherence to the transition timetable leading to the effective conduct of elections within the non-negotiable deadline of February 2022. To this end, the Authority calls on the transitional authorities to submit, by the end of October 2021 at the latest, the timetable, for setting out the essential steps to be taken for the February 2022 elections. It insists on the implementation of only the necessary reforms for the conduct of elections on the agreed date.
The Authority decides to impose targeted sanctions against persons or groups of persons whose actions have a negative impact on the transition timetable, as decided by the ECOWAS Heads of State and Government. These sanctions would include travel ban on such persons and their family members and the freezing of their financial assets. To this end, the Authority instructs the President of the ECOWAS Commission to compile and submit a list of such persons and groups of persons.
The Authority strongly condemns the continued arrest and detention of political leaders and opponents by the transitional authorities. It also demands that the issue be handled in line with the rule of law and respect for human rights.
Regarding security, the Authority strongly condemns the decision of the transitional authorities to hire private security companies in Mali and is greatly concerned about its consequences on the deterioration of the security situation in Mali and the region as a whole.
On the Strengthening of Democracy
In light of recent developments in the region, the Authority reaffirms that the consolidation of democracy and good governance is crucial for the development, peace and stability of the region. Consequently, the Authority instructs the President of the Commission to initiate the process of reviewing the 2001 Supplementary Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance in order to ensure democracy, peace and stability in our region.
The Heads of State and Government express their deep gratitude to H.E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, President of the Republic of Ghana and Chair of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government, for his leadership of the Community.
Done in Accra, this 16th day of September 2021.” END
In another development, President Bio departed for Harvard University and the 76th UN General Assembly in New York after attending the ECOWAS summit in Accra yesterday.
President Dr Julius Maada will deliver a keynote address at the Harvard Leadership Forum and engage in high-level partnership meetings.
Next Monday 20 September, the President will depart Massachusetts for New York, where he will participate in this year’s 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, UNGA. He is scheduled to address the assembly on Wednesday 22 September and later hold bilateral meetings on the margins of UNGA.
On Friday 24 September, the President will depart New York for Washington, D.C. where he is expected to hold high-level meetings with the leadership of the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the Millennium Challenge Corporation.
The President will be accompanied to the United States by some of his cabinet ministers and First Lady, Madam Fatima Bio, who is scheduled to hold a fundraising event on her “Hands Off Our Girls” Campaign in Washington D.C.
The President and his delegation are expected to return to Sierra Leone on Saturday 2 October 2021.