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ECOWAS warned Guinea-Bissau about penalties as crisis slogs

Guinea Bissau President Jose Mario Vaz

LAGOS, Nigeria – In one of its most intense meetings over the weekend in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, West African leaders on Saturday warned Guinea-Bissau about possible restrictions and penalties unless the country’s unending political crisis is resolved within two months as stated.

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) leadership said it was “disappointed with the absence of progress in the peace process” in the embattled West African state, which has experienced political clashes due to power struggle since August 2015.

The latest political tension began when incumbent President Jose Mario Vaz dismissed then prime minister Domingos Simoes Pereira.

Talks facilitated by the African Union Chairman and Guinean President Alpha Conde as well as his ECOWAS counterpart, Togolese President Faure Gnassingbe in October 2016 recommended the appointment of a new prime minister and the formation of a unity government.

Meanwhile, ECOWAS has urged President Conde and President Gnassingbe “to continue consultation within the next two months without which collective and individual sanctions will be handed down against all those who constitute themselves into an obstacle”.

The leader of Guinea Bissau has, however, proposed fresh talks, this week, to find an amicable path out of the crisis but opposition parties have objected to the plan.

The tiny West African has been beset by instability and military takeover, intervention and coups since 1974 when it gained independence from Portugal.

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Dave Okonjie

Dave Okonjie is a public affairs analyst, researcher and senior issues correspondent.
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