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

Myanmar Fighting Poses Dilemma for China

To gain some insight into conflict, VOA’s Steve Herman spoke with Min Zaw Oo, director of ceasefire negotiation and implementation at Myanmar Peace Center More

Australia Concerned Over Islamic State 'Brides'

Canberra believes there are between 30 and 40 Australian women who have taken part in terror attacks or are supporting the Islamic State terror network More

Recreational Marijuana Use Now Legal in Washington, DC

Law allows adults 21 and over to privately possess and smoke 0.05 kilogram of pot, and to grow small amounts of the plant 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.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More