Thursday, February 10, 2005

New Togolese regime increasingly isolated

West African leaders are the latest group to reject the de facto military coup in Togo that occured over the weekend. ECOWAS, the West African Economic Community, denounced the machinations whereby the Togolese army appointed Faure Gnassingbé to succeed his father who (supposedly) died last week.

"The heads of state strongly condemn the military intervention which led to Faure Gnassingbe being installed as the successor to the deceased president," read the ECOWAS communique. "They agree that this constitutes a coup d'etat and they condemn the subsequent manipulation of the constitution by parliament."

"The delegation is fervently urged to express to the Togolese authorities, the necessity to return to the status quo ante," the statement said. "In case of refusal... sanctions would be rigorously applied."

Gnassingbé pledged to hold elections "as soon as possible," despite the rigged constitutional changes which would have allowed him to serve until 2008. Though he did not specify a date for the alleged future elections.

"We think that what has happened in Togo is a big setback for democracy in Africa," said Senegal's president Abdoulaye Wade, whose country has enjoyed civilian rule uninterrupted since independence in 1960.

In addition to ECOWAS condemnation, [t]he African Union has threatened sanctions and European Union officials have hinted that negotiations on a resumption of EU aid to Togo, following a break of 12 years, would be put on ice, reports IRIN, which added that Togo's membership in the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie had been suspended.

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