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Security Council Statement Says Gambian Leaders Must Respect Vote Result, Ensure Peaceful Transfer of Power to President-elect

Authorities in the Gambia must respect the results of the recent presidential election, the Security Council said today, while also commending the initiatives of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in support of that goal.

Issuing presidential statement S/PRST/2016/19, read out by Roman Oyarzun (Spain), its President for December, the 15-nation Council called on outgoing President Yahya Jammeh and the relevant Gambian authorities to fully respect the results of the 1 December vote.  It also called on them to carry out a peaceful and orderly transition and transfer of power to President-elect Adama Barrow by 19 January 2017, in accordance with the Gambian Constitution.

The Security Council also commended the initiatives of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and its visit to Banjul on 13 December 2016, aimed at ensuring a peaceful and orderly transition process in the Gambia.  It requested that the Secretary-General facilitate — including through his Special Representative and in collaboration with relevant organizations — political dialogue between Gambian stakeholders to ensure full respect for the election outcome, as recognized by ECOWAS and the African Union.  It requested further that he provide technical assistance to the ECOWAS mediation where required.

The meeting began at 10:02 a.m. and ended at 10:09 a.m.

Presidential Statement

The full text of Presidential Statement S/PRST/2016/19 reads as follows:

“The Security Council recalls the press statement of the Council members on 10 December 2016, and takes note of the communiqué of the Chairman of the African Union (AU) on 10 December 2016, as well as the joint communiqué of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission, the African Union Commission and the United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS) on 10 December 2016 regarding the situation in the Islamic Republic of the Gambia (the Gambia).

“The Security Council welcomes and is encouraged by the decisions on the political situation in the Gambia of the fiftieth Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Authority held in Abuja on 17 December 2016 and the decisions of the AU Peace and Security Council, at its 644th meeting held on 12 December 2016, and the African Union to recognize Mr. Adama Barrow as President-elect of the Gambia.

“The Security Council reiterates its request to outgoing President Jammeh and the relevant Gambian Authorities to fully respect the results of the presidential election of 1 December 2016, to respect the will of the Gambian people and to carry out a peaceful and orderly transition process, and to transfer power to President-elect Adama Barrow by 19 January 2017 in accordance with the Gambian Constitution.  The Security Council further welcomes the decision of ECOWAS Heads of State to attend the 19 January 2017 inauguration of President-elect Barrow in Banjul.

“The Security Council commends the initiatives of ECOWAS, including the visit of an ECOWAS/UN high level delegation in Banjul on 13 December 2016, led by Her Excellency Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of the Republic of Liberia and Chairperson of the ECOWAS Authority, aimed at ensuring a peaceful and orderly transition process in The Gambia.

“The Security Council welcomes the appointment by ECOWAS of His Excellency Muhammadu Buhari, President and Commander in Chief of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as the Mediator in the Gambia and His Excellency John Dramani Mahama, President of the Republic of Ghana as the Co-chair.

“The Security Council recalls its members’ request that the security of President-elect Adama Barrow, and that of all Gambian citizens, be fully ensured, and supports the decision of ECOWAS fiftieth Session in this regard.

“The Security Council further requests that the Gambian defence and security forces demonstrate maximum restraint to maintain an atmosphere of calm in Banjul.

“The Security Council requests the Secretary-General, including through his Special Representative, in collaboration with the relevant regional and subregional organizations, to facilitate, as appropriate, political dialogue between the Gambian stakeholders in order to ensure a peaceful transition of power in the Gambia and in full respect of the outcome of the presidential election as recognized by ECOWAS and the AU, and to provide technical assistance to the ECOWAS mediation where required.

“In this regard, the Security Council emphasises the important role of Mr. Mohammed ibn Chambas, Special Representative of the Secretary General and Head of UNOWAS in the current political situation in The Gambia.

“The Security Council further welcomes and reiterates its full support for the continued efforts of the AU and ECOWAS to promote peace, stability and good governance in the region.

“The Security Council expresses its intention to continue to follow the situation in the Gambia closely.”

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