Gambia:UN Security Council to vote on backing ECOWAS

The UN Security Council (UNSC) is set to vote on a draft resolution endorsing efforts by some West African countries to ensure a transfer of power in The Gambia.

Diplomatic sources said the vote would take place at 1:00 p.m. (1800 GMT) on Thursday.

The 15-member council is expected to approve actions by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on The Gambia, which has been plunged into a political crisis after President Yahya Jammeh rejected the results of the December 1 election.

Senegal presented the measure to the council on Wednesday, requesting UN approval for ECOWAS to take “all necessary measures” to force Jammeh to cede power to opposition leader, Adama Barrow, who was declared the winner of the election.

The harsh language of the resolution was dropped during negotiations late Wednesday. The latest text calls on the council to give “its full support to the ECOWAS in its commitment to ensure the respect of the will of the people.”

The resolution demands that “Jammeh carry out a peaceful and orderly transition process, and to transfer power to President-elect Barrow by January 19.” Jammeh’s five-year mandate ends on January 18.

It also demands that all stakeholders, within and outside the West African country “to exercise restraint, respect the rule of law and ensure the peaceful transfer of power.”

The developments come as some regional countries have been trying to persuade Jammeh to hand over power to Barrow.

The possibility of a military intervention in The Gambia gained strength after the UN and the African Union both called on Jammeh to accept the results of the vote and leave after 22 years in power.

Earlier on Tuesday, a Nigerian military source said the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) could launch a military intervention if Jammeh did not step down when his five-year mandate ends on January 18.

Senegalese troops are massed on the Gambian border.

Latest reports indicate that Nigeria and Ghana were sending troops and airpower to Senegal to join a Dakar-led regional force that could stage a military intervention in The Gambia.

Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz has flown straight to Senegal to meet President Macky Sall after last ditch talks in The Gambia.

Jammeh had initially accepted the results but later reversed his position and lodged a complaint with the Supreme Court over election irregularities.

He declared a 90-day state of emergency on Tuesday, citing foreign interference in the December presidential election.

Jammeh’s defiance to leave power has sent the West African country into crisis.

On Wednesday, Gambian vice president joined eight cabinet ministers to resign in the face of the political impasse in the country.

Barrow is to be sworn in at the country’s embassy in Senegal on Thursday afternoon.

By Africafrique and agencies

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