Obasanjo: Faure Gnassingbe's move "unacceptable", warns Togo of sanctions

02-19-2005, 16h07

The African Union chairman, Nigeria's President Olusegun Obasanjo, told a Togolese delegation that Faure Gnassingbe's political move was "unacceptable" and warned of "imminent" sanctions against the country, his spokeswoman said.

"The ECOWAS and African Union (AU) heads of state will insist that if they (authorities in Togo) do not go back to the status quo ante, immediate sanctions will follow," Oluremi Oyo told an AFP reporter after a three-man delegation of the new Togo leader met Obasanjo here.

"They again came to reiterate to the president (Obasanjo) what they have decided to do in Togo which was at variance with what the ECOWAS authorities have said they should do. President Obasanjo told them that it was unacceptable," Oyo said.

Faure Gnassingbe announced Friday in Lome that presidential elections will be held within 60 days and that he would remain in the office of president until the elections so as to ensure the continuity of the state.

"It (the move) is most unacceptable because it is at variance with the specification of the constitution. It (the move) is unconstitutional," she said.

"The ECOWAS heads of state and the AU have said that all of the provisions of the constitution must be met and if they do not do that, immediate sanction will follow as is imminent now," added the spokeswoman.

The Togolese delegation, headed by the prime minister of the country, also included a defence minister and an adviser to the late President Gnassingbe Eyadema.

"This is a classic case of what should not happen in Africa and Africa cannot allow itself to be ridiculed and discredited by self-centred and self seeking advisers. And these are advisers of Faure's father (the late Eyadema) who are now holding him hostage for their selfish interest," she also said.

The head of the AU Commission, Alpha Oumar Konare, Saturday condemned the decision by the military-installed Togolese president Faure Gnassingbe to stay in power and reiterated calls for a return to "constitutional legality".