- AU Joins ECOWAS to Pressure Jammeh
An African Union (AU) delegation is on its way to Gambia, to persuade outgoing President Yahya Jammeh to accept his loss in the country’s December’s election.
The AU “strongly rejects any attempt to circumvent or reverse the outcome of the presidential election held in the Gambia, a clear expression of the popular will and choice of the Gambian people,’’ the organisation said in a statement.
The visit comes several days after Jammeh announced his intention to challenge the election results, which declared opponent Adama Barrow the winner.
According to Amie Bojang, the spokeswoman of Gambia’s opposition coalition the delegation includes: Liberia’s President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who also chairs the Economic Commission of West African State (ECOWAS).
Others are; the Sierra Leone’s President Ernest Bai Koroma, President Alpha Conde of Guinea and the Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari.
The delegation is also expected to conduct talks with the president-elect and members of the opposition coalition, which supported Barrow’s bid for the presidency.
On Monday, Gambia’s coalition of seven opposition parties demanded Jammeh to “immediately step down and hand over power’’.
Newly elected President Barrow was initially supposed to take power in January.
Jammeh, who has ruled the West African country for 22 years with an iron fist, had earlier conceded defeat to Barrow, but then deployed heavily armed military and police to the streets of the capital Banjul.
President Muhammadu Buhari, his Liberian and Ghanaian counterparts, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and John Mahama, will on Tuesday, leave for Banjul to put diplomatic pressure on President Yahya Jammeh to transfer power to President-elect Adama Barrow.
The UN Security Council made the plan known while briefing newsmen after a closed-door meeting by the 15 members on the political situation in The Gambia.
Mr Juan Manuel De Linares, Deputy Permanent Representative of Spain, said the members of the council stood by their unanimous statement on Dec. 10 that Jammeh should commence the peaceful transfer of power to Barrow without further delay.
“A delegation by the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General to ECOWAS (Mohammed Ibn Chambas) and other ECOWAS and AU leaders will lead high-level delegation to Banjul tomorrow.
“The delegation will include the President of Nigeria (Buhari), Liberia (Johnson-Sirleaf), Ghana (Mahama). These are respected presidents in West Africa and Africa,” Linares said.
He, however, said that the council did not discuss any measure that would be taken should Jammeh refuse the entreaties.
“Our priority is to support the high-level visit tomorrow and ensure the mission succeeds,” he said.
He urged all parties in The Gambia to reject any form of violence and ensure peaceful transition of power in the West African country.
Amb. Ismael Martins, Permanent Representative of Angola to the UN, also told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the high-level visit was an effort of the ECOWAS leaders.
“The purpose of the visit of the ECOWAS leaders is to keep everybody in agreement to arrive at transfer of power in accordance to the rules of AU and ECOWAS.
“There is a high-level delegation of Heads of State going to visit Gambia, comprising the President of Liberia as the Head of ECOWAS and other respected heads of state in the ECOWAS sub-region,” Martins said.
In a statement on Saturday, the Security Council “strongly condemned the outgoing Gambian president’s rejection of the official election results proclaimed by the country’s Independent Electoral Commission”.
The council asked Jammeh “to respect the choice of the sovereign people of Gambia, as he did on Dec. 2, and to transfer, without condition and undue delay, power to the President-elect, Mr Adama Barrow”.
It also urged all parties to exercise maximum restraint, refrain from violence and remain calm, and requested that the security of Barrow and that of all Gambians be fully ensured.
The council also urged support by the UN Office for West Africa and international partners, especially ECOWAS, to preserve stability in The Gambia and work toward the installation of a democratically elected government in the country.
The council commended The Gambian people for the peaceful and transparent conduct of elections on Dec. 2 and expressed commitment to continue to closely follow the evolution of the situation in the country.
The council recalled the relevant provisions of Article 23 (4) of the AU Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance.
China and EU Seek Partnership: Xi Jinping Proposes Key Trade Alliance
Chinese President Xi Jinping expressed his desire for China and the European Union (EU) to become key trade partners and foster trust in supply chains, during a meeting with EU leaders in Beijing.
The talks marked the first in-person summit between the two sides in four years and addressed a range of economic concerns, including data flows and market access.
Xi emphasized China’s commitment to high-quality development and opening up, positioning the EU as a crucial partner in economic and trade cooperation.
He envisioned the EU as a trusted collaborator in industrial and supply chain cooperation, aiming for mutual benefits and win-win results.
The summit delved into longstanding issues, such as efforts by Europe to “de-risk” its supply chains and the EU’s anti-subsidies investigation into Chinese-made electric vehicles.
China criticized the investigation, urging the EU to avoid using it for “trade protectionism.”
Xi called for the elimination of interference between China and the EU, a statement likely directed at the United States, which has taken actions, including enlisting the Netherlands, to curb China’s development of high-end semiconductors.
The EU leaders, Ursula von der Leyen and Charles Michel, described their conversation with Xi as “good and candid.”
They discussed the main challenges amid increasing geopolitical frictions, emphasizing a commitment to balanced trade relations and pledging to enhance people-to-people exchanges.
During the meeting, Italy formally informed China of its exit from the Belt and Road Initiative, highlighting ongoing strains between the EU and China.
Xi discussed Belt and Road with EU leaders, expressing a willingness to connect it with the EU’s Global Gateway infrastructure plan.
However, deep issues remain, including Russia’s war in Ukraine, trade imbalances, and Chinese overcapacity exported to Europe.
Jens Eskelund, president of the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China, stressed the need to address these issues to foster a positive relationship between Beijing and Brussels.
UAE Commits $30 Billion as COP28 Climate Talks Kick Off in Dubai
Nigeria Eyes BRICS Membership within Two Years as Foreign Minister Emphasizes Strategic Alignment
In a strategic move towards global economic collaboration, Nigeria is aspiring to join the BRICS group of nations within the next two years.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Yusuf Tuggar, affirmed that Nigeria is open to aligning itself with groups that demonstrate good intentions, well-meaning goals, and clearly defined objectives.
Tuggar stated, “Nigeria has come of age to decide for itself who her partners should be and where they should be; being multiple aligned is in our best interest.”
He emphasized the need for Nigeria to be part of influential groups like BRICS and the G-20, citing criteria such as population and economy size that position Nigeria as a natural candidate.
BRICS, comprising Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, stands as a formidable bloc of emerging market powers.
In a recent move to expand its influence, BRICS invited six additional nations, including Saudi Arabia, Iran, Egypt, Argentina, Ethiopia, and the United Arab Emirates, to join the group.
Nigeria, as Africa’s largest economy, has been absent from the BRICS alliance, prompting discussions on the potential economic and political advantages the bloc could offer the country.
Analysts have noted that BRICS membership could provide Nigeria with significant leverage on the global stage.
Vice President Kashim Shettima clarified that Nigeria did not apply for BRICS membership after the bloc’s announcement of new members in August.
Shettima emphasized the principled approach of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, highlighting a commitment to consensus building in decisions related to international partnerships.
As Nigeria eyes BRICS membership, the move is seen as a strategic step towards enhancing its global economic and diplomatic influence.
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