ACCRA West African leaders are still pursuing mediation to ensure a peaceful transfer of power in Gambia where President Yahya Jammeh refused to accept defeat in an election last month, Liberia's President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said on Saturday.Sirleaf told reporters after a meeting among regional leaders in Ghana's capital Accra that regional bloc ECOWAS did not yet intend to deploy its standby military force in Gambia."We are committed to a peaceful mediation and a peaceful transfer of power in the Gambia.. we will continue to pursue that for now," said Sirleaf who chairs the 15-member body said.
Asked if the regional group would deploy a standby force soon, she said "no", adding that ECOWAS was closely monitoring proceedings in Gambia's Supreme Court where Jammeh is challenging the poll result.Jammeh, a former coup leader who has ruled Gambia for 22 years, initially accepted his defeat by opposition figure Adama Barrow in the Dec. 1 election. But a week later reversed his position, vowing to hang onto power despite a wave of regional and international condemnation.
Mohamed Ibn Chambas, the United Nations' top official in West Africa, also attended the special closed-door meeting, which was the first official engagement by Ghana's new President Nana Akufo-Addo who was sworn in on Saturday.
(Reporting by Kwasi Kpodo; Editing by Joe Bavier and Dale Hudson)
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Updated Date: Jan 07, 2017 22:17 PM