The West African regional bloc said on Saturday (December 17) it will uphold the election result in Gambia, despite outgoing President Yahya Jammeh saying he will not step down. Rough cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (no reporter narration) The West African regional bloc said on Saturday (December 17) it will uphold the result of a December 1 election in Gambia after veteran President Yahya Jammeh said he will not concede defeat to Adama Barrow. Leaders of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) said at the end of the Abuja summit they would attend Barrow's inauguration on January 18, with an aim to bring the matter to a close the following day. according to ECOWAS chairperson Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. (SOUNDBITE) (English) LIBERIAN PRESIDENT AND CHAIRPERSON OF ECONOMIC COMMUNITY OF WEST AFRICAN STATES (ECOWAS), ELLEN JOHNSON SIRLEAF, SAYING: "It is now important that the authority at this summit considers recommended measures to bring this matter to a successful completion before January 19." Barrow's surprise victory and Jammeh's decision to step down were seen across Africa as a moment of hope. Jammeh's announcement on December 9 that he would reverse that position and his call for a fresh vote has been widely condemned and ECOWAS leaders say it violates the principle of democratic accountability. Jammeh's party is now challenging the result in Gambia's Supreme Court. ECOWAS call on Jammeh to acknowledge Barrow as President-elect and agreed to respect the will of the Gambian people. (SOUNDBITE) (English) LIBERIAN FOREIGN AFFAIRS MINISTER, MARJON KAMARA, SAYING: "The authority calls on President Yahya Jammeh to accept the result of the polls and refrain from any action likely to compromise the transition and peaceful transfer of power to the president-elect. The head of state and government further agreed on the following; A: To uphold the result of 1st December 2016 election in the Republic of The Gambia. B: Guarantee the safety and protection of the president-elect, Mr Adama Barrow."