President Mills leaves for Dakar to attend emergency ECOWAS Summit

President John Evans Atta Mills, has left Accra for Dakar, Senegal, to attend an emergency summit of heads of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on Thursday May 3.

Mr Chris Kpodo, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, briefed journalists at the Kotoka International Airport, Accra, on the President’s trip.

He said the emergency summit had been necessitated by the deteriorating situation in Mali and Guinea Bissau.

Mr Kpodo said: “ECOWAS Heads of State feel that they must consult again and review recent developments and that is why they are conveying a meeting in Dakar tomorrow.”

He noted that sanctions imposed on both countries had not been followed to the letter, with some recent skirmishes in Mali, which questioned the decision of ECOWAS that had been conveyed to the countries.

Mr Kpodo said this showed that Mali and Guinea Bissau were not complying with the ECOWAS agreement.

He said the leaders in Guinea Bissau needed to consult and then take a position.

Mr Kpodo dismissed criticism that measures imposed on the two countries, such as suspension from ECOWAS, had not been deterrent enough.

He said: “I wouldn’t say the punitive measures had not been strong enough; it’s just that they are just being recalcitrant. For instance, in Mali, although there was an agreement with the interim government, there had been news that the junta was still interested in arresting certain personalities and that has resulted in recent developments.

Mr Kpodo said that the last summit had agreed to deploy troops to help resolve the situation and stressed that it was still on the table.

President Mills, who was seen off by Mr. Henry Martey Newman, Chief of Staff at the Presidency, and some service personnel, is expected back tomorrow. GNA

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