ABIDJAN (AFP)

 


Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan arrived in Ivory Coast on Wednesday for talks with his counterpart Alassane Ouattara, as the two regional powers grapple with crises in Mali and Guinea-Bissau.

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan (L) speaks during a joint press conference with his Ivorian counterpart and president of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Alassane Ouattara, following talks at Felix Houphouet Boigny airport in Abidjan. Goodluck Jonathan arrived in Ivory Coast on May 9 for talks with his counterpart Alassane Ouattara, as the two regional powers grapple with crises in Mali and Guinea-Bissau. AFP PHOTO

Ouattara currently heads the west African regional bloc ECOWAS, which has floated the prospect of sending troops into northern Mali, now controlled by Tuareg and Islamist who launched a sweeping offensive after a March 22 coup.Nigeria’s support is seen as crucial to any such military intervention.

The Economic Community of West African States has also called on Mali’s coup leaders, who officially handed power to a transitional government last month, to allow for swift elections, but the ex-junta has rejected the demand.

Tension also remain high in Guinea-Bissau after an April 12 army coup that aborted a presidential election. The former ruling party ousted in the putsch has rejected plans to install an new interim president, demanding that the coup first be reversed.

At a regional summit in Senegal last month, west African leaders threatened tougher action against coup leaders in both nations if they continue to stall efforts to restore democratic rule.

Jonathan, who heads Africa’s most populous nation and a key military power, is expected to leave Abidjan Wednesday after meeting with Ouattara.

 

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