News / Africa

W. African Leaders: Mali, Guinea-Bissau Polls to Proceed

 Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan (L) arrives to attend the closing session of the ECOWAS summit in Abuja, Nigeria, July 18, 2013.
Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan (L) arrives to attend the closing session of the ECOWAS summit in Abuja, Nigeria, July 18, 2013.
Heather Murdock
West African leaders have said upcoming elections in Mali and Guinea-Bissau will go ahead as scheduled, despite reports the two countries' electoral commissions are not ready. At a summit in Abuja, the leaders also called for new security policies that will allow the region to respond more quickly to emergencies like last year's crisis in Mali.
 
Heads of state from the Economic Community of West African States [ECOWAS] met this week in the Nigerian capital ahead of elections in Mali and Guinea-Bissau.  
 
Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara said Mali elections will go ahead on the scheduled July 28 date, despite reports that the election commission is not prepared to hold elections in a country where hundreds of thousands of people remain displaced by war.
 
Ouattara said elections will “turn the page on the Mali crisis.”  

In January, a French-led coalition invaded northern Mali, re-taking territories from Islamist militant groups.
 
Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan said Wednesday that ECOWAS will need the support of countries outside Africa to help Mali have elections that are free, fair and non-violent.
 
“We should use this opportunity to appeal to the international community to intensify their assistance to bridge the financial gap of $25 million for the provision of critical logistical support, in particular air access, [and] deployment of as many international and national observers for the 28th of July elections in Mali.”
 
Leaders also called for a review of security policies in West Africa. Reading a statement, ECOWAS President Kadre Desire Ouedraogo said the organization should learn from the crisis in Mali and develop a plan for a “rapid military response” in the future.
 
The statement also calls on the African Union and the European Union to lift sanctions against Guinea-Bissau and recognize the country's transitional government ahead of elections scheduled for November 24 this year.
 
After a 2012 military coup, the U.N. Security Council imposed sanctions on Guinea-Bissau, saying it had “grave concerns” that the coup, among other things, was increasing the amount of drugs trafficked through Guinea-Bissau, a country well-known for being a transit point for cocaine going from Latin America to Europe.
 
Military leaders in Guinea-Bissau also have been accused of drug trafficking.
 
In addition, the statement appeals to political parties in Togo and Guinea, which also are about to hold elections, to have a non-violent reaction to the results, regardless of the outcome.

You May Like

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

Ali Regained Title in Historic Fight 40 Years Ago

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid