West African leaders have urged the National Elections Commission (NEC) to implement the Supreme Court's recommendations, heading into the presidential run-off.
The regional leaders, according to a press release from the Liberian Embassy in Abuja, made the call in a Final Communique at the end of the 52nd Ordinary Session of Authority of Heads of State and Government of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
The Summit convened on December 16, 2017 in Abuja, the Federal Republic of Nigeria, under the chairmanship of His Excellency Mr. Faure Essozimna Gnassingbe, President of the Republic of Togo and Chairman of Authority.
President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, and 13 other ECOWAS leaders and their duly mandated representatives, after participating in a day-long meeting of open and closed door sessions, adopted and signed the Final Communique at the end of the Summit.
According to the release, the ECOWAS leaders through a 68-count Final Communique, while taking note of the December 26, 2017 presidential run-off, urged NEC to implement the recommendations of the Supreme Court to ensure a peaceful and transparent election.
"[The ECOWAS] Authority takes note of the run-off presidential election scheduled for 26 December 2017, and urges the National Election Commission to implement the recommendations of the Supreme Court to ensure a peaceful and transparent election", the release quotes the Final Communique as saying.
The Final Communique continued: "The [ECOWAS] Authority commends the successful conduct of the general elections in Liberia on 10 October 2017 and the professionalism with which the National Elections Commission (NEC) and the Supreme Court managed the dispute which followed the announcement of the results of the first round of the presidential election."
According to the release, the regional leaders encouraged Ambassador Joseph Nyemah Boakai of the Unity Party (UP) and Senator George M. Weah of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) to conduct peaceful election campaigns and petition the Supreme Court over any electoral dispute.
The ECOWAS Authority also instructed the President of the Commission to closely monitor the electoral process, deploy an election observation mission to the country and provide all necessary assistance to NEC, the release states.
Other issues addressed in the Final Communique included the situations in The Gambia, Togo, Guinea Bissau, Mali and the situation of African migrants in Libya, the release continues.
Regarding the applications received by ECOWAS from Morocco for membership, Tunisia for observer status and Mauritania for associate membership, the ECOWAS Authority decided to set up a Committee of Heads of State and Government comprising the Republics of Togo, Cote d'Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea and the Federal Republic of Nigeria, to adopt the terms of reference and supervise a comprehensive study on the implications of the membership.
According to the regional leaders, "matters of accession to the ECOWAS Treaty and the granting of observer status to third countries should be preceded by the appropriate institutional framework which constitutes the legal basis for such a decision."
Mauritanian President Mohammed Ould Abdel Aziz, who had the status of a guest, in his remarks, referred to Association Agreement between his country and ECOWAS as follows: "We are linked by both geography and human relations. We want effective partnership between Mauritania and the ECOWAS region as the region faces challenges of terrorism" He enthused that having high hopes on this, the Mauritanian people know that they can count on the leaders for the conclusion of the Association Agreement."
At the same time, the Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS have awarded the post of Chairman of the Commission to Côte d'Ivoire at the end of their 52nd regular session held on Saturday, December 16, 2017 in Abuja, Nigeria.
The regional leaders approved the appointment of the current Ivorian Minister of Industry and Mines, Jean Claude Brou, as chairman of the ECOWAS Commission for a four-year term starting on March 1, 2018. Mr Brou replaces Mr. Marcel de Souza of the Republic of Benin.