the WHITE HOUSEPresident Barack Obama

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The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

Statement by the Press Secretary on the October 17 Economic Community of West Africa States Summit

The United States strongly supports the Economic Community of West African States’ (ECOWAS) decision to impose an arms embargo on Guinea and to work with the African Union to develop a regime of targeted sanctions against individuals.  We welcome this action, to address the growing crisis in the region.  The United States continues to condemn the brutal murders and rapes which occurred on September 28 in Guinea and calls on all parties to cooperate fully with the United Nations Commission of Inquiry charged with investigating the violence.  We will continue to work with our international partners and the ECOWAS/African Union-appointed facilitator, President Blaise Compaore of Burkina Faso, to urge the junta in Conakry to step aside and allow for the establishment of a transitional authority that can lead the country toward credible elections.

The United States also welcomes the ECOWAS decision to impose an initial group of sanctions on Niger.  Nevertheless, we urge ECOWAS to move towards the immediate imposition of full sanctions given President Tandja’s non-compliance with the ECOWAS request to suspend legislative elections.  The United States remains deeply concerned by President Tandja’s disregard for Niger’s institutions of democratic governance.  We urge President Tandja to resolve the political crisis in Niger through dialogue, rather than through self-serving actions that continue to erode Niger’s ten-year commitment to democracy and good governance.

We look forward to working with ECOWAS on democracy and the rule of law and applaud its rejection of unconstitutional accession to or maintenance of power.