West African Leaders to Discuss Failed Guinea-Bissau Talks

Posted May 3rd, 2012 at 4:00 am (UTC-5)
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Days after imposing sanctions on Guinea-Bissau and its military rulers, leaders from the regional bloc ECOWAS are scheduled to discuss failed negotiations aimed at restoring constitutional rule in the country.

The meeting Thursday in Dakar, Senegal follows a breakdown in talks over the proposed return of the country's interim president. A junta spokesman said Tuesday it agrees with the Economic Community of West African States on all other issues.

ECOWAS has called for ousted interim president Raimundo Pereira to resume power and manage the return to civilian rule.

Sonny Ugoh, communications director for ECOWAS, told VOA that leaders will “respond vigorously” to the situation in Guinea-Bissau so that sanctions show the military leaders it is in their best interest to accept a 12-month transition plan.

“And then hopefully complement that with the security sector reform, bringing the country into a new era of stability and peace and security so that all of us can get on with the business of developing the region. Because it's becoming a little bit frustrating, this recurring problem of political crisis in Guinea-Bissau.”

Guinea-Bissau has endured numerous coups and coup attempts during the past 30 years and has become a transit point for international drug traffickers.

ECOWAS has promoted a program to reform Guinea-Bissau's defense and security sector, including restructuring and downsizing the military.

The April 12 coup that drove Mr. Pereira from power derailed a presidential run-off election to replace the late president Malam Bacai Sanha.