Leaders of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) held an extraordinary summit Thursday in Ghana’s capital Accra on the crisis in Guinea, stepping up pressure on the military junta to steer the country to constitutional order.
The summit was the second by leaders of the 15-nation sub-regional bloc since the military coup ousted President Alpha Conde on Sept. 5.
In a communique, the leaders directed the junta to “ensure the conducting of presidential and legislative elections within six months in order to restore constitutional rule, while no member of the junta is allowed to contest in the presidential election.”
The bloc also decided to “impose sanctions of travel bans on members of the military junta and their family members and freeze their financial assets.”
An ECOWAS mission composed of heads of state is due in Guinea’s capital Conakry on Friday to present the resolutions of the Accra summit to the junta led by Colonel Mamadi Doumbouya.
The military junta that overthrew Conde has pledged to establish a “government of national unity.”
Earlier, while opening the meeting, Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo, who is also chairman of the bloc, said the regional body would take informed decisions with regards to Guinea’s coup.
“We are required to take informed decisions on these matters that will have a long-time consequence on the security and the defense of democratic values of our region,” he said.
“I count on you to help proffer durable solutions to the crisis. I am confident, as in the past, that we will rise to the occasion.”
The summit discussed the outcome of the high-level mission that the bloc sent to Guinea last week after the virtual emergency meeting of the region’s leaders on Sept. 8 that followed the ouster of Conde.
ECOWAS has suspended Guinea’s membership from the bloc and demanded the unconditional release of Conde.
A delegation led by Ghana’s Foreign Minister Shirley Ayorkor Botchway had last Friday visited Guinea, where it met with the military rulers and deposed President Conde in detention.
Present at Thursday’s meeting were the presidents of Togo, Niger, Burkina Faso, Liberia, Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone and Senegal.
Nigeria was represented by its vice president, while the rest of the countries sent their foreign ministers.