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General News Sun, 11 Jan 2009

President Mills joins colleagues at ECOWAS Summit

From Benjamin Mensah, GNA Special Correspondent, Abuja, Nigeria

Abuja, Jan. 11, GNA - President John Evans Atta Mills was on Saturday in Abuja warmly welcomed into the fold of Heads of State of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) by its Chairman, President Umar Yar'Adua of Nigeria.

President Yar'Adua congratulated the Government and people of Ghana for the exemplary manner in which they conducted the recent general election.

President Prof. Mills together with his colleagues later expressed deep concern at the resurgence of military coups in Africa, considering it as a very serious setback in efforts to strengthen the democratisation process on the Continent. They condemned particularly the coup in Guinea last December, and suspended that county from all meetings of the ECOWAS at Heads of State and Ministerial levels, until the time constitutional order would be restored in that country.

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These were contained in a communiqu=E9 read at a press conference after a close-door meeting at the end extraordinary summit of ECOWAS Heads of State and Governments in Abuja, Nigeria. The Leaders called for more effective measures at regional and continental levels, including the early ratification and implementation of the ECOWAS Supplementary Protocol on Good Governance and the African Union (AU) Charter on Democracy and Governance by ECOWAS Member States, which had not yet done so.

Dr Mohammed Ibn Chambas, President of the ECOWAS Commission, read the communiqu=E9, which reiterated the principled position of ECOWAS against unconstitutional accession to or the maintenance of power. The Leaders also demanded from the Conseil National pour la Democratie et le Developpement (CNDD), which ousted the Government of late Guinean President Lanssana Conte last year, to take immediate steps to restore constitutional order in Guinea, the Conseil having already committed itself to conclude the transition in 2009 by organising a credible, free fair and transparent elections.

The Heads of State noted that the CNDD was already making efforts to return the country to a constitutional rule through the establishment of a National Transitional Council which was composed of civilians and the military with legislative powers, and reassured the Guinean Stakeholders of their support. Members of the CNDD, the Transitional Team Prime Minister and Members of his Government have also pledged not to contest the elections to be organised later this year.

To facilitate the restoration of constitutional order in Guinea, the Authority agreed to maintain a permanent and constructive dialogue with all actors to implement a quick organisation of elections and transfer of power. The Summit also dre w attention to the need for adequate funding, and called on international partners especially the World Bank, International Monetary Fund IMF and the European Union to continue their financial support for socio-economic programmes in that country. The Summit also observed a minute's silence in memory of the late General Conte, and invited the Guinean Prime Minister Kabine Komara to make a submission after which he responded to questions and queries from members of the Authority. 11 Jan. 09

Source: GNA
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