Abuja, Nigeria – Leaders of the West African economic grouping known as ECOWAS say they will impose sanctions on Guinea-Bissau unless the country’s grinding political crisis was resolved within two months.
At a meeting in the Nigeria, capital Abuja over the weekend, the leaders said they were “disappointed with the absence of progress in the peace process” . Guinea Bissau has had a intractable political stalemate since 2015 since the sacking of President of former Prime Minister Domingos Simoes Pereira by the President.
Curent African Union (AU) Chair and Guinean President Alpha Conde and Ecowas Chair and President of Togo Faure Gnassingbe had been working to resolve the political crisis and the naming of a prime minister and formation of a unity government.
Conde and Gnassingbe were asked by the ECOWAS leaders 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.”
President Vaz says he is open to talks with the opposition in an effort to resolve the crisis; something the opposition has already rejected.
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), said Sunday they are considering sanctions against Guinea-Bissau’s President for failure to implement the agreement to end the two-year political crisis.
According to Anadolu Agency, ECOWAS negotiators led by president of the Commission, Marcel De Souza, said that President Jose Mario Vaz and his ruling powerful PAIGC have failed to implement anything that came out of talks brokered by President Alpha Conde of Guinea Conakry in June this year.
Known in Bissau as the Conakry Accord, president Vaz has been asked, among other things, to appoint a concession candidate acceptable to him and his party as prime minister but Vaz appointed Umaro Cissoko Embalo who is outside of African Party for Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde.
ECOWAS is expected to hold a meeting and take appropriate action in Nigeria from December 12 to 16, Souza said.
The heads of states of ECOWAS reserve the right to apply sanctions, collective and individual, and also withdraw the regional forces who are currently keeping the peace in the country, Souza said.
Public schools are closed and hospitals are struggling for funds.
Bissau has witnessed nine coups or attempted coups since 1980 and currently it has 600 regional forces securing the small nation.
The military has a history of interference in politics which is why the regional body has asked soldiers to stay in the barracks.