Abuja - West African leaders will take a
"major decision" on the political impasse in Gambia at a meeting
in Ghana on Saturday, a spokesman for the Nigerian presidency
said on Friday.
The West African ECOWAS bloc said last month it would take
all necessary steps to uphold the result of a Dec. 1 election in
Gambia, where veteran President Yahya Jammeh says he will not
step down after losing to Adama Barrow.
ECOWAS has placed standby forces on alert in case Jammeh
attempts to stay in power after his mandate ends on Jan. 19.
Jammeh has called the bloc's stance "a declaration of war", and
said he will defend himself.
"A major decision on the impasse is expected to be taken at
that all-important meeting," said Garba Shehu, spokesman for
Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari.
"President Buhari is the chief mediator of the crisis and he
is committed to ensuring that the logjam is resolved."
Jammeh initially accepted his loss in the December 1 election,
shocking Gambians who have lived through his repressive rule
since he took power in a 1994 coup, and triggering celebrations
in the streets.
But a week later changed his mind, saying the electoral
commission had been biased by "foreign influences" and vowing to
hang on despite regional and international condemnation.
Jammed says ECOWAS has no right to interfere in Gambia's
internal affairs, and that Gambians should await the outcome of
a legal challenge that his APRC party has lodged at the Supreme