Gambia's Vice President Isatou Niie Saidy welcomes Nigeria' Muhammadu Buhari and Sierra Leone's Earnest Bai Koroma in Banjul ahead of talks with Jammeh and the opposition

West African leaders due in Banjul for a final push for Jammeh’s peaceful exit

West African leaders led by Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari will be in Banjul, The Gambia’s capital in an attempt to peacefully end a political impasse in the tiny country and express to “President Yahya Jammeh the need and imperative for him to respect the constitution.”

The decision was made in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital where President Buhari held meetings with Senegal’s President Macky Sall, Liberia’s Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Ghana’s former President John Mahama.

Nigeria’s Foreign Minister Geoffrey Onyeama says President Yahya Jammeh will be pressed to step down and hand over power to Adama Barrow, a businessman who is backed by seven opposition parties.

Jammeh suffered a shocking defeat in the hands of Barrow in last month’s elections. He initially conceded defeat but made a political detour leading to a standoff that is making the political stability of the West African nation cloudy.

Buhari will be accompanied by the President of Sierra Leone Ernest Bai Koroma, ECOWAS Chair and Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Ghana’s former President John Mahama, ECOWAS President Marcel de Souza and representative from the African Union to Banjul.

ECOWAS has put a hold on a regional force to uphold the outcome of the Gambia’s election and says it wants to pursue a peaceful resolution and keep the region stable.

West African leaders were in Banjul last month where they urged Jammeh to allow a smooth transition and peaceful transfer of power. Jammeh called the meeting a mere formality and accused the regional bloc of violating the sovereignty of the Gambia.

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