Foreign Ministers of the seven-nation ECOWAS Contact Group on Guinea Bissau are meeting with the country's political stakeholders on Sunday in Banjul, says ECOWAS spokesman, Sunday Ugoh.
The contact group are Nigeria, Benin, Cape Verde, The Gambia, Guinea Conakry, Senegal and Togo.
In a statement made available to the West Africa correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abidjan, Ugoh said Heads of State of the seven nations would meet on Thursday, May 3, in Dakar, Senegal.
According to the statement, the meeting in the Gambia would discuss the next steps toward the resolution of the crisis in the country in line with the decisions of the extra-ordinary summit of regional leaders held in Abidjan on April 26.
``The summit set up the contact group and urged the stakeholders to join regional mediation efforts for a ``consensual transition through the holding of elections within 12 months.
``It takes note of the April 16 commitment by the (Bissau) military command to accept the restoration of conditional order based on modalities to be worked out with the help of ECOWAS.
``The objective is to end the political crisis in Guinea Bissau sparked by the April 12 military takeover which disrupted ongoing electoral process to elect a replacement for President Bacai Sanha who died in January 2012.
``The first round of presidential election held on March 18 was inconclusive with the run-off scheduled for April 29, which some opposition parties had threatened to boycott, alleging fraud in the first round, before the military coup,’’ it said.
The statement said 30 representatives of Guinea Bissau’s political stakeholders, including the military junta and political parties, would participate in the Banjul meeting convened by the Government of The Gambia on behalf of the contact group.
According to the statement, the group, chaired by Nigeria, is charged with coordinating follow up actions regarding the implementation of the decisions of the April 26 extra-ordinary summit in Abidjan.
It said the summit had reaffirmed the regional leaders’ rejection of the coup, condemned the disruption of the political process and the establishment of a transition by the junta contrary to a written commitment to immediately restore constitutional rule.
In a communique, the ECOWAS Heads of State had threatened to impose targeted sanctions against members of the military command.
The heads of state had threatened diplomatic, economic and financial sanctions against the country should the military command fails to hand over power within 72 hours. (NAN)