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Ecowas condemns Guinea-Bissau transition

2012-04-20 12:46

Dakar - West African states on Thursday condemned the two-year transition deal in coup-stricken Guinea-Bissau as illegal and called for the immediate return of constitutional rule.

The Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) "strongly condemns this illegal initiative", a statement said following the announcement that the junta had appointed a failed presidential candidate to lead a two-year transition.

The opposition and military rulers had named former parliamentary speaker and independent presidential candidate Manuel Serifo Nhamadjo to lead the interim government.

"The Ecowas Commission has learnt with surprise the announced establishment of a so-called 'Transitional National Council' by the Military Command Junta and 24 political parties in Guinea-Bissau to govern the country for a two-year period," the statement said.

"The Commission strongly condemns this illegal initiative, particularly after the Junta had given a written undertaking, following its meeting with a high-level Ecowas Delegation in Bissau on 16 April 2012, to step aside to pave the way for the immediate return to constitutional normality with the facilitation of Ecowas."

A very high-ranking west African delegation made up of ministers and chiefs of staff had visited Bissau on Monday to meet those responsible for the April 12 coup.

"The Commission wishes to reiterate its rejection of the usurpation of power by the Military Command, and to make it known that it will never recognise any transitional arrangement emanating from the Junta," the statement said.

Ecowas was to hold an emergency summit next week to discuss the situation in Guinea Bissau, it added.