The Heads of State and Government of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), convened on 14 April 2018 in Lomé, Togo, for an extraordinary summit and were informed of Aristide Gomes’ appointment as consensus Prime Minister by Guinea Bissau’s President José Mario Vaz, after consultations with political stakeholders and civil society.
The appointment will be confirmed by presidential decree on 17 April 2018.
They also took note of decisions regarding the holding of parliamentary elections on 18 November 2018, and the reopening of parliament on 19 April 2018 to decide, inter alia, on issues concerning the appointment of members of the Electoral Commission and extension of the current legislature.
West African leaders took note of the decisions and dates, congratulated President José Mario Vaz, and called on Guinea Bissau’s political stakeholders to work hard to restore stability to the country.
They called on the Monitoring Committee, comprising the Head of State of Guinea and ECOWAS Mediator, Alpha Condé, his Togolese counterpart and Chairman of the ECOWAS Authority, Faure Essozimna Gnassingbé, and the President of the regional organisation’s Commission, Jean-Claude Kassi Brou, to take all necessary steps for the implementation of the roadmap.
The Heads of State and Government commended Alpha Condé and Faure Essozimna Gnassingbé for their sustained mediation efforts and work done to achieve lasting solution in Guinea Bissau.
They endorsed the extension of ECOWAS Mission in Guinea Bissau (ECOMIB)’s mandate to 30 June 2018, and urged Guinea Bissau’s defence and security forces to ensure peace and security throughout the country.
They also welcomed the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) extension of the mandate of the United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Guinea Bissau (UNIOGBIS) until 28 February 2019.
In addition to Guinea Bissau, the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government also discussed the social and political situation in Togo.
It commended the initiatives and efforts of Ghanaian President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo aimed at the peaceful resolution of the social and political tensions facing the country since August 2017.
West African leaders called on all Togolese political and civil society stakeholders to refrain from any act of violence or action that may constitute a threat to peace and stability in Togo and the ECOWAS region.
They appointed their peers Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and Alpha Condé as ECOWAS Mediators, and invited them to step up their efforts to assist the Togolese government and political stakeholders in the implementation of constitutional reforms, while respecting legal deadlines, democratic standards and principles and the rule of law.
They instructed the Commission to take all necessary measures to support the ECOWAS Mediators, and make recommendations to be submitted to the next Summit of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of the regional body.
Still at the political level, they commended the successful conduct of the general elections in Sierra Leone on 7 March and run-off on 31 March 2018 and praised the people of Sierra Leone for strengthening their democracy.
They congratulated the new President of Sierra Leone, Julius Maada Bio, and urged him to consolidate democracy while enhancing national unity.
They also reaffirmed their readiness to support him for the success of his mandate and commended his continued efforts towards reconciliation and inclusiveness.
The Summit paid tribute to former Sierra Leonean Head of State, Ernest Bai Koroma, for his commitment to the peaceful conduct of elections, and for the democratic handover of power to Julius Maada Bio.
The other decisions of the extraordinary summit relate to famine in the Sahel and the fight against terrorism.
On terrorism, the Authority reiterated its condemnation of terrorist attacks in the region and expressed its solidarity with the affected countries.
It reaffirmed its determination to combat terrorism and violent extremism. To that end, it decided to give its full support to the G5 Sahel Joint Force.
With regard to famine in the Sahel, the Authority took note of the warning issued by the Food Crisis Prevention Network (RPCA) in the Sahel and West Africa on the risks of food insecurity in the Sahel.
It recommended that ECOWAS Member States take concrete measures to address the threat of food insecurity, noting that it was only through solidarity that they could win the fight.
It therefore urged the regional organisation’s Commission to work closely with Member States to address the food shortage challenge and find a lasting solution.
Regarding the situation in The Gambia, the Heads of State and Government instructed the ECOWAS Commission to take steps to integrate the forces present in the country into the ECOWAS Mission in The Gambia (ECOMIG).